The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is proposing including Lead in the list of substances subject to authorization, Appendix XIV. This would mean that a special authorisation would be required for each use of this substance including production, processing, and storage. This “ban” could come into force as early as 2025/2026.
More details from the ECHA on adding Lead to this list can be found here: https://echa.europa.eu/de/recommendation-for-inclusion-in-the-authorisation-list/-/substance-rev/68608/term
This ruling could negatively affect stained glass heritage crafts, according to the International Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Stained Glass (ISCCSG):
“In the case of new or historic stained glass and leaded glass, this means that neither the manufacture, nor the conservation, nor the storage or presentation, e.g. in a museum, would any longer be possible without a special permit.”
We reached out to a few of our members that regularly use lead cane or solder in their work for their comments on the proposal:
“The use of lead came and lead/tin solder forms an integral part of our stained glass manufacture at Divito Studios. Without it, it would be impossible for us to continue producing glass art for our domestic, commercial and ecclesiastical clients. The threat of a blanket ban by The European Commission of the use of lead in the fabrication and conservation of stained glass is a very worrying issue for us as it would completely wipe out our livelihoods after successfully building up the studio practice over the past 15 years.
We are very aware of the toxicity of lead and we have implemented the recommended saftey procedures, reducing risks to our health. We urge The European Commission to exclude the use of lead in the fabrication and conservation of stained glass from its proposed ban”.Bianca Divito, founder of Divito Studios
“We in stained glass industry have to change for the environment. If you ever look at lead on histrionic buildings there is never any moss or green algae on the walls. The lead community needs to think and change. Stained glass can always make new materials.”Evan Connon, Connon Stained Glass
Before any material is put on Appendix XIV, there is a consultation process in which those affected are allowed to comment.
To have your say, submit your comments on the ECHA website: https://echa.europa.eu/en/recommendation-for-inclusion-in-the-authorisation-list/-/substance-rev/68608/term
The deadline for objections and comments is 2 May 2022.
Featured Image: Coeil, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons