Chemicals in consumer products Towards a safe and sustainable use
Abstract: Health and environmental risks associated with emissions of hazardous chemicals from articles, including everyday consumer products such as clothes and toys, have become widely acknowledged internationally, particularly in the EU. This thesis contributes to new understandings of how these risks are currently managed within the EU and recommends actions for ensuring a safe and sustainable use of chemicals in articles.Paper I provides an overview and comparative analysis of regulatory strategies for managing risks of chemicals in articles in the EU. The in-depth analysis, which is focused on the Toys Safety Directive, the RoHS Directive, and REACH, shows that the legislations differ significantly. Differences include e.g. what criteria are used for the selection of substances to be targeted for regulation, and the kind of requirements and restrictions applied to the selected substances. It is concluded that product-specific directives are important complements to REACH in order to ensure a safe use of chemicals in articles.Paper II evaluates to what extent the regulation of chemicals in articles under REACH is coherent with the rules concerning chemicals in the Sewage Sludge Directive (SSD) and the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The results show that the majority of the chemicals that are prioritized for phase-out under the WFD or for concentration restrictions in sludge and soil under the SSD are allowed to be used in articles according to REACH. In order to avoid end-of-pipe problems and to increase resource efficiency, it is argued that it is necessary to minimize the input of chemicals identified as hazardous to health or the environment into articles.Paper III aims to clarify what the substitution principle means and how it can reasonably be applied as part of chemical policies. A general definition is proposed that gives equal weight to hazard, functionality and economical considerations, while at the same time recognizing that the aim of the substitution principle is to reduce hazards to human health and the environment. This paper also summarizes major methods to promote and implement the principle, discusses legislative approaches with regard to their ability to promote substitution of hazardous chemicals, and makes proposals for an efficient implementation of the principle.
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