London, August 30, 2023
The International Lithium Association (ILiA) welcomes the proposal by the United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) not to impose mandatory classification and labelling for lithium salts given the lack of scientific evidence in support of a reclassification. The full HSE statement can be read here.
In 2022, the European Union Commission proposed a reclassification of lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide and lithium chloride. However, scientific opinions expressed by Argentina, Australia, the United States and now the United Kingdom all disagreed with the EU’s proposal. These opinions demonstrate that there is a lack of scientific agreement on the classification of lithium and suggests that other countries are unlikely to adopt the EU’s proposed restrictive classification, with possible repercussions on trade relations and access to lithium.
While ILiA does not question the need for substances to be proportionally regulated or the precautionary principle, we believe strongly that all substance classifications must be based on clear, compelling and comprehensive scientific evidence. This is especially true for a substance of essential importance where an incorrect interpretation would have significant long-term and wide-ranging impacts.
To support a better understanding of lithium salts, ILiA has commissioned a Risk Management Option Analysis (RMOA) that will help industry and regulators better understand the uses and life cycle of lithium salts. The industry RMOA is assessing the lithium landscape and identifying what information could be gathered to help inform regulators and explore the impact of a reclassification on the European Green Deal, the EU’s climate strategy and even strategic autonomy and innovation.
The International Lithium Association (ILiA) is the global body for the lithium industry, representing more than 60 member companies from around 20 countries. ILiA’s Core members produce around 85% of current global lithium output and do so entirely from industrial mines that adhere to high professional standards.