EUROPEAN Union internal market ministers have reached a "political agreement" to ban the use of azocolourants in the dyeing of a range of textile and leather goods. Azocolourants are dyes made from nitrogen-based compounds, which could cause cancer. Some EU countries have already banned their use and the European Commission says this should be extended to all members in the interest of free trade. Germany abstained from the agreement - it wants a much tougher crackdown on the chemical.

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