Control of chemicals in articles – Preliminary report

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Title: Control of chemicals in articles – Preliminary report
Author: Häkkinen, Piia
Belongs to series: The Finnish Environment 14/2010
ISSN: 1796-1637
ISBN: 978-952-11-3772-3
Abstract: There are a wide variety of different chemicals used in common articles. Many hazardous substances are being spread to the environment besides from the use of articles, also from their production and disposal. Management of chemicals in articles is included in EU legislation concerning product safety, waste management, product design and chemicals. There are also other instruments for the management of chemicals in articles, e.g. environmental labelling, international co-operation, industry initiatives, work of the non-governmental organizations as well as national programmes and registers. According to the recommendations of the National Programme on Dangerous Chemicals, more information is needed about chemicals in articles. The aim of this preliminary report is to review how hazards and risks from chemicals in articles could be controlled, through out the life cycles of the articles. This report describes the current legislative situation and voluntary management measures, as well as their possible need for further development. Articles are regarded as e.g. textiles, toys, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and accumulators as well as packaging. Cosmetics are also included in this report, because they present possible significant source of chemical releases to the environment. On the basis of this preliminary report, the legislation concerning chemicals in articles is very scattered, targeted to certain product groups and substances. EU’s new chemicals regulation, REACH, is the most comprehensive legislation on chemicals in articles, because it is applied to all chemicals. There is a general lack of information on the content of chemicals in articles as well as the environmental effects and risks of those chemicals. The lack of labelling requirement is affecting to the consumers’, manufacturers’ and importers’ level of knowledge about chemicals in articles. The surveillance by the authorities is based on notifications of dangerous articles and spot checks. These however only reveal a small proportion of articles on the market containing hazardous chemicals. The management of chemicals in articles could be enhanced e.g. by adding more restricted chemicals or product groups to individual legislation, by including more environmental aspects in product safety legislation or by adding more restrictions concerning chemicals in articles to the REACH Regulation. In order to supervise the compliance with chemicals legislation, more resources are needed, especially on imported articles coming outside EU. The new Waste Framework Directive and the reform of national waste legislation will enhance the control of chemicals in articles, but the collection, recycling and re-use should be further developed. Information on chemicals in articles could be increased by e.g. developing information systems covering the whole supply chain. The role of product design should be highlighted in the future when aiming to substitute the current use of hazardous chemicals in articles.
Date: 2010
Subject: esineet
haitalliset aineet
vaaralliset aineet

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