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LIFE MATHER - Full material and chemical monitoring data and disclosure for the protection of the human health and environment

LIFE16 ENV/IT/000211


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Contact details:

Contact person: Paola Basta
Tel: 390283715549
Email: paola_basta@whirlpool.com



Project description:

Background

The use of substances with hazardous properties can have negative human health and environmental effects. Therefore, potentially hazardous chemicals should be regulated, monitored and, when possible, replaced with safer alternatives. In the home appliances sector, lead (Pb) is one of the main substances identified for substitution, considering that large appliances contain, on average, 0.25% brass, which in turn contains 4% lead (the upper threshold allowed for exemptions linked to Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment). However, according to the World Health Organisation, sub-micron-sized particles of lead found in air, soil and water can be inhaled and absorbed by the body, even in low concentrations. Companies must identify and manage any risks linked to the substances they use, and be able to demonstrate how to use their products safely.


Objectives

The LIFE MATHER project aims to design, implement and demonstrate a new data monitoring tool that will create a link between the chemicals used by a company in its products with known human health and environmental impacts, as well as pertinent regulations. The chemical monitoring data will be accessible and comparable, allowing the exposure assessment of chemicals.

In particular, the new tool will help manufacturing companies to:

  • Raise their awareness of the health and environmental impacts of materials and chemicals used in components purchased to make their products, to facilitate a more informed decision-making process during the product design and production phases;
  • Reduce internal costs, related to the continuous updating of in-house materials databases and inventories based on regulatory updates, and the purchase of new components to replace withdrawn non-compliant components;
  • Reduce time-to-compliance with regulations for products before accessing the market, avoiding related risks to health and the environment as well as legal consequences and impacts on the EU’s industrial reputation and related competitiveness; and
  • Provide EU Health Units with data about exact composition, quantity and possible environmental/health impacts to allow exposure from chemical mixtures to be assessed.
  • In particular, the new tool will be in line with Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances, which restricts the use of hazardous materials in the manufacturing of various types of electronic and electrical equipment, and the EC Regulation No. 1907/2006, the so called REACH Regulation, concerning the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. The project also contributes to the Circular Economy Action Plan, as it helps to detect and substitute chemical substances in products that are of concern because they create obstacles for recyclers.

    Expected results:

  • Development of a new chemical monitoring data tool, linking each chemical substance used by a company with both the regulatory framework and its impacts on human health and environment;
  • Visibility of composition of the materials in the manufactured products, covering up to 95% of the total material;
  • Shared knowledge of all restricted and controlled substances along the whole supply chain;
  • More effective, faster and flexible compliance of the manufactured products with EU environmental and chemicals directives and regulations, with time to identify products impacted by a new regulation reduced by more than 90%;
  • Proactive reaction to the updating of EU environmental and chemicals directives and regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance for manufactured appliances by up to 90%;
  • At least 10 EU Health Units to be provided with chemical monitoring data that is accessible, comparable, and linked with environment and health assessment;
  • Elimination (100%) of lead contained in the 15-20 WHEMEA appliances chosen for the validation actions, to be substituted with silicon; and
  • Reduction of the global warming potential (GWP) associated with the WHEMEA products, considering that the GWP associated with the use of silicon is only 2% of that of lead.


Results


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Environmental issues addressed:

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Whirlpool EMEA SpA
Type of organisation International enterprise
Description Whirlpool Corporation is a global manufacturer and seller of home appliances. Whirlpool EMEA S.p.A. (WHEMEA) has acquired expertise in numerous areas, such as materials, mechanical design, thermodynamics and energy efficiency, which enables the company to undertake challenging research projects.
Partners t2i – trasferimento tecnologico e innovazione s.c.a r.l., Italy National Technical University of Athens, Greece

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Project reference LIFE16 ENV/IT/000211
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 31-DEC -2020
Total budget 1,580,774.00 €
EU contribution 935,521.00 €
Project location Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki(Ellas) Kentriki Makedonia(Ellas) Dytiki Makedonia(Ellas) Thessalia(Ellas) Ipeiros(Ellas) Ionia Nisia(Ellas) Dytiki Ellada(Ellas) Sterea Ellada(Ellas) Peloponnisos(Ellas) Attiki(Ellas) Voreio Aigaio(Ellas) Notio Aigaio(Ellas) Kriti(Ellas) Piemonte(Italia) Valle d'Aosta(Italia) Liguria(Italia) Lombardia(Italia) Trentino-Alto Adige(Italia) Veneto(Italia) Friuli-Venezia Giulia(Italia) Emilia-Romagna(Italia) Toscana(Italia) Umbria(Italia) Marche(Italia) Lazio(Italia) Campania(Italia) Abruzzo(Italia) Molise(Italia) Puglia(Italia) Basilicata(Italia) Calabria(Italia) Sicilia(Italia) Sardegna(Italia)

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