Thanks to a unique combination of properties, and performance characteristics that span energy efficiency, carbon footprint, socio-economics, raw material security, as well as technical function, lead is the only suitable material in the many applications and industries essential to EU society and the economy.
Lead Matters is a collaborative campaign which showcases this essentiality. Developed by the Lead (Pb) REACH Consortium (PbRC), a voluntary initiative managed by the International Lead Association (ILA), it supports over 40 sectors in highlighting the vital, safe and sustainable use of lead in their industries.
Focusing on critical industrial uses as well as societal benefits, the PbRC’s new microsite showcases a myriad of ways that lead is integral to everyday life and economic growth. With its EU-centric supply chain, lead is key to transforming Europe’s economy into a low-carbon, high growth global powerhouse. Lead metal not only enables clean energy, clean mobility, economic growth and employment creation, but embodies the EU Commission’s industrial strategy and is an exemplar of the circular economy.
Lead Matters is designed as resource for anyone interested in the untold story of lead, as well its downstream users in demonstrating the critical role that lead plays in contributing to the EU’s decarbonisation goals and industrial strategy. A suite of case studies have been developed in collaboration between the PbRC and various collaborators across a range of sectors, from machining through to medical radiation shielding, all highlighting their contribution to EU economy and society.
REACH is a European Union regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals, and its provisions apply to lead metal and the 25 lead substances managed by the PbRC. As well as its day to day role in supporting these entities in meeting their obligations under REACH, the PbRC also coordinates a specialist communications and advocacy taskforce, dedicated to telling the story of lead and championing its uses, the Lead Metal Advocacy & Communications Taskforce (Pb MACTF). Across these networks, the PbRC collaborates with some of the biggest downstream users of lead, as well as those using small volumes that are just as integral.
With the strength of these industries behind it, for Europe’s future, Lead Matters. We do not believe that inclusion of lead metal in REACH Annex XIV would be a proportionate and coherent risk management option, considering:
- The societal benefits and critical role of the remaining uses of lead
- The complexity of the value chain beyond the use of lead in the battery industry
- The essential role that lead plays in the EU’s ability to deliver other policy objectives, in particular the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan and its Clean Mobility and Clean Energy packages
- The comprehensive, existing EU-wide framework of lead-specific legislation designed to manage risk
- The update of EU binding occupational exposure limits to further protect workers
- That REACH Authorisation would not result in substitution more quickly than foreseen in existing legislation and sectoral measures
- The benefits of ongoing use of targeted restrictions, achievable by industry, for uses identified as contributing most to environmental and human exposures
- The lack of availability of technically feasible, commercially viable alternatives – despite decades of research and investment
- The recommendations of the Cross-Industry Initiative on using the most targeted and proportionate approach to regulatory management.
Our collaborators have worked extensively to provide insights and impact from their own industries to support these considerations – the PbRC would like to thank all those who contributed.
Visit https://leadmatters.org/ to learn more about how the lead value chain supports growth, jobs and wealth creation in Europe.
To find out more about the Pb MACTF and how to get involved, get in touch with Lisa Allen, Regulatory Affairs Manager, ILA.