The European Commission published twelve delegated acts, effectively ending a wide range of existing exemptions for the use of mercury in lamps, as mercury-free alternatives are widely available. The new rules aim to protect citizen’s and worker’s health and the environment from this hazardous substance, as well as to boost innovation and promote cleaner products.

The Commission adopted a package of twelve draft delegation directives on the use of mercury in these lamps and adapted these exemptions to scientific and technological progress in December 2021. The delegated directives were sent to the European Parliament and the Council for review. The delegated acts were published on Feb 24, 2022, because the Commission received no objections or requests for extensions during the scrutiny period. They will take effect on the twentieth day after publication, and the EU Member States will have six months to incorporate the provisions of the delegated acts into their national legislation

Electronics containing mercury are prohibited from being placed on the market under EU rules restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (ROHS Directive) unless the Commission grants time-limited and application-specific exemptions. The majority of these exemptions for general lighting will be phased out, as assessments conducted by the Commission since 2016 concluded that safe, mercury-free alternatives to fluorescent lamps are widely available

Following the Commission’s approval, the 12 delegated acts will be sent to the European Parliament and the Council Both co-legislators have two months to accept or reject the acts, which can be extended by another two months if necessary. The co-legislators do not have the authority to amend the delegated acts under the applicable legal provisions. Following final adoption, Member States will have six months to incorporate them into national legislation .

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