News

Know more about the effects of the chemicals we use in Europe

ECHA/PR/16/01

It is now easier to find information on 120 000 chemicals used in Europe today.

Helsinki, 20 January 2016 – There is now a new, easier way to find out about the chemicals we use on a daily basis. The information is available in three layers of complexity: the simple infocard, the more detailed brief profile and the full source data.

The infocard gives a summary of the key information on a chemical substance in plain English. Users can read about the chemicals they are exposed to, where they are commonly used, whether they are hazardous and the precautions that they might need to take.

The brief profile goes deeper into the environmental, human health and physico-chemical properties of the chemical. It provides a user-friendly overview of the information collected for each substance under the different chemical regulations. This will be most useful for employers, workers, academics and regulators.

The third level, source data, includes the raw data submitted by companies to ECHA in REACH registration dossiers and notifications to the classification and labelling inventory.

ECHA's Executive Director Geert Dancet says: "ECHA is moving from collecting information to making much better use of it for the general public as well as for regulators throughout the world. This launch is an important step towards safer chemicals by 2020 and a great contribution from the EU to the goals of the United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development set in 2002."

This three-level approach improves the transparency and traceability of data on chemicals. ECHA is not reducing the amount of information, adding or approving the collected data but making it much more accessible.

 

Background

ECHA maintains one of the world's largest regulatory databases on chemicals. It combines the information from REACH registration dossiers and classification and labelling notifications from industry with the information gathered by the EU Member States and regulators through substance evaluation and regulatory risk management (such as harmonised classification and labelling, authorisation and restriction).

The database offers, for example, information on

  • The classification and labelling of 120 000 chemicals;
  • The hazards and safe use of 14 000 chemicals registered under the REACH Regulation;
  • 2 million study summaries on properties and effects of chemicals;
  • 168 chemicals listed as being of very high concern; and
  • 64 chemicals for which their use has been restricted in the EU.

For biocides, ECHA publishes information on active substances, biocidal products as well as a list of active substance and product suppliers. Statistics on the export and import of hazardous substances that are regulated under the Prior Informed Consent Regulation (PIC) are also available on ECHA's website.

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