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Narrow-and-sharp or broad-and-blunt - Regulations of hazardous chemicals in consumer products in the European Union
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
2012 (English)In: Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology, ISSN 0273-2300, E-ISSN 1096-0295, Vol. 62, no 3, 523-531 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Chemicals are incorporated into a vast number of consumer products, and it has been recognized that considerable exposures of humans and the environment to chemicals are due to diffuse emissions from everyday products. Different approaches to the management of risks concerning chemicals in products are discussed on the international arena, but no general strategy has yet been adopted. The aim of this study is to investigate how health and environmental risks associated with chemicals in consumer products are currently managed in European Union legislations, mainly by the Toys Directive, the RoHS Directive, and REACH. Significant differences were found between the risk reduction strategies in these legislations, including substance prioritization, type of restrictions and requirements, and information dissemination to consumers. REACH regulates chemicals in products to a limited extent, and via quite complicated processes. Product-specific rules are therefore useful supplements to REACH for regulating chemicals in products. The combined effects of the RoHS and WEEE directives seem to be effective in promoting substitution of substances identified as problematic in electrical and electronic equipment, and it is recommended that the possibility to develop similar systems should be considered also for other product categories.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 62, no 3, 523-531 p.
Keyword [en]
Consumer products, Hazardous chemicals, REACH, Risk management, RoHS Directive, Toys Safety Directive
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-71124DOI: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2011.11.003ISI: 000302204100016Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84858445418OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-71124DiVA: diva2:486591
Note
QC 20120509Available from: 2012-01-30 Created: 2012-01-30 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Chemicals in consumer products: Towards a safe and sustainable use
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Chemicals in consumer products: Towards a safe and sustainable use
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. 36 p.
Series
Theses in Risk and Safety from the Division of Philosophy at the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1654-627X ; 7
Keyword
consumer products, articles, hazardous chemicals, risk management, chemicals regulation, REACH, substitution, regulatory toxicology, European Union
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-104826 (URN)978-91-7501-527-9 (ISBN)
Presentation
2012-11-23, Seminarierum 231, Teknikringen 78 B, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20121119

Available from: 2012-11-19 Created: 2012-11-13 Last updated: 2012-11-19Bibliographically approved

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