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Are companies providing the necessary chemical information to keep consumers safe?

To protect European consumers from hazardous chemicals, enforcement authorities have checked more than 1 400 substances to see if companies registered their substances and if they are providing the necessary information to ensure their safe use. In short, companies did pretty well based on this project but there is still room for improvement.

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Chemicals are used in many everyday products, for example in our clothes, electronics or furniture. Some of those chemicals are hazardous to human health and the environment. That’s why the EU is regulating their use.

In 2018, companies faced the last deadline to register their chemical substances. Two years later in 2020, ECHA’s enforcement Forum has the results of a project that investigated how well companies met their legal requirement to register their substances and provide information that allows their safe use and that any risks are controlled so that your health and the environment are protected. The majority of the checked companies represented the manufacturing and retail industry. Information on safe use from registration is passed down the supply chain to consumers and professionals, while ECHA uses it in preparation of new pieces of legislation that regulate hazardous substances.

Companies can still do better

93.5 % of the inspected substances that needed a registration were actually registered. But there is still room for improvement, 180 substances (15 %) did not comply with at least one of the registration-related obligations that the inspectors checked for, including the duty to keep the registration updated whenever the company has new information about how much they use the substances and for what purpose.

In those cases where companies did not fulfil their obligations, the authorities took enforcement measures such as written advices, administrative orders and fines. Some companies even faced criminal prosecution.

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