Brussels – The European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) has welcome a move by the EU Parliament to further harmonise drinking water regulations across the European Union.
On 16 Dec, the European Parliament approved the revision of the drinking water directive that is expected to enter into force 12 Jan 2021. Member states will have two years to transpose it into national legislation.
The revision, said ETRMA in a statement, now includes a new Article 11 which describes a comprehensive framework for products in contact with drinking water, including elastomers used for seals, gaskets, joints, hoses and parts.
Among other issues, the framework includes provisions for developing “a European positive list” of substances for groups of materials, including organic materials such as rubber, within four years after approval.
It will also regulate the procedures and methods for testing and accepting final materials and commits to developing European standards for uniform testing of the products in contact with drinking water.
In response to the revised text, ETRMA said it “extremely welcomes” the creation of a positive list, which it said will secure that high standards for human health and the environment are equally set across all European member states.
The move, said the ETRMA statement, will also “add trust and enforce the EU single market for rubber goods.”
With the provisions of a framework for testing procedures and methods, the revised directive will also play an important role in terms of compliance.
“Small O-rings and gaskets' use and performance differs from lining for water compartments. Tests and compliance requirements should recognise products´ specificities,” explained ETRMA.
The association went on to say that the upcoming years will be decisive for setting “a trustable and feasible framework” for drinking water products, adding that it wishes to share its knowledge and expertise for the development of the framework.
The European drinking water directive was originally adopted in November 1998 to protect human health from adverse effects of any contamination of water.
It encourages EU member states to guarantee that water quality meets certain criteria.
However, according to ETRMA, during the implementation process each member state developed its own compliance system for drinking water products, meaning that standards and product tests could differ from one state to another.
This has created a challenge for the elastomer industry to comply with many different systems, and the new directive is expected to address the issue.