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Cost of Late Action - the Case of PCB

image of Cost of Late Action - the Case of PCB

The purpose of this study is to estimate environmental costs for the use of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the European Union. The result of the estimate is that these costs in the EU of 25 members, will be at least EUR 15 billion (British milliards) 1971-2018. The estimate is based on information on costs in Sweden for the remediation of buildings, soil and waste, for administration, research and other related costs and on data about PCB production up to 1984 in the five largest of the EC Member States. The study confirms that early action in order to avoid chemicals pollution gives considerable environmental benefits to society. This is of particular interest to the future legislation on chemicals placed on the market of the European Community and the proposal of the European Commission to introduce a system for the registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals (The REACH system). One main aim is to prevent missteps similar to the case of PCB. EC Member States will avoid huge costs in the future if missteps of this kind could be prevented by the new legislation.

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PCB-costs for EU25

The study shows that lack of awareness about the environmental and health consequences of one chemical, PCB, has caused substantial costs to one EU Member state. The total costs identified in this study related to the use of PCB in Sweden during the period from 1971 to 2018 have been estimated to be SEK 3 – 5 billion (EUR 320 – 550 million).

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