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Chemicals in consumer products: Towards a safe and sustainable use
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy. (Risk och Säkerhet, Risk and Safety)
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 [en]
consumer products, articles, hazardous chemicals, risk management, chemicals regulation, REACH, substitution, regulatory toxicology, European Union
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-104826ISBN: 978-91-7501-527-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-104826DiVA: diva2:570332
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
List of papers
1. Narrow-and-sharp or broad-and-blunt - Regulations of hazardous chemicals in consumer products in the European Union
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Narrow-and-sharp or broad-and-blunt - Regulations of hazardous chemicals in consumer products in the European Union
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.

Keyword
Consumer products, Hazardous chemicals, REACH, Risk management, RoHS Directive, Toys Safety Directive
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-71124 (URN)10.1016/j.yrtph.2011.11.003 (DOI)000302204100016 ()2-s2.0-84858445418 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20120509Available from: 2012-01-30 Created: 2012-01-30 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Are chemicals in articles an obstacle for reaching environmental goals? - Missing links in EU chemical management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Are chemicals in articles an obstacle for reaching environmental goals? - Missing links in EU chemical management
Show others...
2012 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 435, 280-289 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is widely acknowledged that the management of risks associated with chemicals in articles needs to be improved. The EU environmental policy states that environmental damage should be rectified at source. It is therefore motivated that the risk management of substances in articles also takes particular consideration to those substances identified as posing a risk in different environmental compartments. The primary aim of the present study was to empirically analyze 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). We also analyzed the chemical variation of the organic substances regulated under these legislations in relation to the most heavily used chemicals. The results show that 16 of 24 substances used in or potentially present in articles and regulated by the SSD or the WFD are also identified under REACH either as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) or subject to some restrictions. However, for these substances we conclude that there is limited coherence between the legislations, since the identification as an SVHC does not in itself encompass any use restrictions, and the restrictions in REACH are in many cases limited to a particular use, and thus all other uses are allowed. Only a minor part of chemicals in commerce is regulated and these show a chemical variation that deviates from classical legacy pollutants. This warrants new tools to identify potentially hazardous chemicals in articles. We also noted that chemicals monitored in the environment under the WFD deviate in their chemistry from the ones regulated by REACH. In summary, we argue that to obtain improved resource efficiency and a sustainable development it is necessary to minimize the input of chemicals identified as hazardous to health or the environment into articles.

Keyword
Consumer articles, Priority substances, REACH, The Water Framework Directive, The Sewage Sludge Directive, EU environmental policy
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-105168 (URN)10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.07.021 (DOI)000310396100034 ()2-s2.0-84864451776 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20121206

Available from: 2012-11-16 Created: 2012-11-16 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. The substitution principle
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The substitution principle
2011 (English)In: Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology, ISSN 0273-2300, E-ISSN 1096-0295, Vol. 59, no 3, 454-460 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to the substitution principle, hazardous chemicals should be replaced by less hazardous alternatives. In this paper, the major issues concerning the more precise definition of the principle are analyzed, and a general purpose definition is proposed. It is claimed that the priority between reducing hazard, functionality and economical considerations in the application of the substitution principle is a matter for adjustment in each particular case that cannot be settled beforehand. None of these objectives can have absolute priority over the others, but the substitution principle is aimed at increasing the priority given to the reduction of hazards to human health and the environment. Major methods to promote and implement the principle are summarized, current legislative approaches are discussed, and proposals for efficient implementation are made. It is emphasized that the primary responsibility for avoiding hazardous substances and processes rests with industry.

Keyword
Substitution principle, Hazardous chemicals, Chemical risks, Chemicals control, Chemicals policy
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39209 (URN)10.1016/j.yrtph.2011.01.011 (DOI)000288981500012 ()2-s2.0-79952695483 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-09-08 Created: 2011-09-08 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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