Substances may be characterized as PMT/vPvM very Persistent, very Mobile (very Persistent, very Mobile). PMT stands for Persistent (not or hardly degradable in the environment), Mobile (well soluble in water and therefore easily transported through the environment) and Toxic (toxic to humans and/or ecosystem). vPvM stands for very Persistent and very Mobile. The goal of the European and Dutch authorities is to keep these substances out of the environment, or to keep the concentrations in the environment as low as possible.

PMT and vPvM substances can accumulate in the environment because they break down very slowly. Due to their properties, these substances are not or very difficult to purify from water with current technologies. Therefore, they can pose a major problem for drinking water preparation. Finally, due to the mobile and persistent nature of PMT and vPvM substances, aquatic organisms can be exposed to these substances for a long time, which can lead to undesirable effects. The use and emission of these substances should be limited as far as possible.

Legal framework

European legislation

As of 20 April 2023, the amended CLP Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 is in force that establishes the hazard classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) of substances in the European Union. In the amended regulation, new hazard classifications have been added, namely PBT/vPvB, endocrine disruptors and PMT/vPvM. The classification of substances as endocrine disruptors and PBT/vPvB very persistent and very bioaccumulative (very persistent and very bioaccumulative) is already included in other European legislation such as the REACH Regulation (EC) 1907/2006, but the classification of substances as PMT/vPvM is new.

There is a transition period: for substances that are new on the European market, companies must comply with the amended CLP Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 from 1 May 2025. For substances that are already on the European market, companies must comply with the requirements of the amended CLP regulation as of 1 November 2026. Until these dates, the inclusion of the new hazard classifications is voluntary. More information on the amended CLP Regulation can be found on the website of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Global developments

The European Union will chair a new United Nations working group with the aim of developing global criteria for PMT/vPvM substances.

Measures

The CLP Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 obliges companies to state accordingly on the label when substances meet the PMT/vPvM criteria (or the other hazard classifications). This ensures that everyone in the production chain of a substance, including consumers, knows that the substance has hazardous properties.

Screening

Classifying substances according to the CLP regulation is a lengthy process. That is why RIVM has developed a screening method to identify substances that may have PMT/vPvM properties as early as possible. The method scores substances between 0 (low PMT potential) and 1 (very high PMT potential) based on modelled data. If the PMT tool gives a score of 0.3 or higher, this is a signal that this substance is potentially problematic. This screening can be informative for permit officers when assessing wastewater discharges. This score may be a reason for the permit officer to ask the applicant for the substantiation of the hazard properties of the substance on the basis of experimental data. 

Currently, about 6,000 substances have been screened using the screening method. The results are available via the PMT screening tool. Please read the user manual (the Dutch version) for more details about the tool. A brief explanation can be found in the model description of the PMT screening tool.

Video webinar PMT screening tool

RIVM-webinar PMT-screeningstool, 25 oktober 2023, duur: 44 minuten. In deze webinar van het Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) wordt uitleg en instructies gegeven over de PMT-screeningstool. Met deze screeningstool kunnen zorgstoffen zo vroeg mogelijk worden herkend. Onderzoekers van het RIVM vertellen waarom de tool is ontwikkeld en hoe de tool werkt en toegepast kan worden. Ook leggen betrokken medewerkers van Rijkswaterstaat uit wat deze tool in de praktijk kan betekenen.

Sprekers:
Theo Traas, afdelingshoofd Duurzaamheid, Drinkwater en Bodem bij het RIVM, geeft een introductie en beantwoordt in de afronding voorafgestelde vragen.
Erik Verhofstad, senior beleidsmedewerker bij het ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat, vertelt over de werkgroep Aanpak Opkomende Stoffen.
Emiel Rorije, beoordelaar Chemische Risico's bij het RIVM, geeft een inhoudelijke toelichting over de PMT-tool.
Colet Eggermont, adviseur Chemische Waterkwaliteit bij Rijkswaterstaat, vertelt over het gebruik van de PMT-tool in de praktijk.