Use your right to know - Chemicals In Our Life

Use your right to ask

If you suspect that a product that you buy may contain chemicals that could be harmful, you have the right to ask for information about them.

You have the right to ask if the products you buy contain chemicals above a certain limit that could be harmful to your health or to the environment. These so-called substances of very high concern (SVHCs) are included in the REACH Candidate List of SVHCs. By law, suppliers have to give you this information, free of charge, within 45 days from the date of your request.

Your right to ask applies to articles such as textiles, furniture, shoes, sports equipment, toys and electronic equipment but does not cover mixtures such as paints, detergents, medicines, cosmetics and food.

How to ask for information?

Either go directly to the shop where you bought the product or contact the producer or importer. It is best to make your request in writing. Many national authorities and consumer organisations have prepared model letters to help you with this. There are also mobile apps available that can help you.

To get the right information, you should:

  • include the name or description of the product you are interested in;
  • ask whether the product contains any substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that are included in the REACH Candidate List – the substances can be either in the product itself or in its packaging;
  • include a reference to ECHA’s website, where more information about the obligations under the REACH Regulation can be found.

Suppliers only have to provide information on these substances if they can be found in concentrations above 0.1 % of the product’s weight. This means they do not need to tell you about other substances in the product or even about SVHCs in the product if they are present at a lower concentration. 

Model letters for consumers:

Apps for consumers

Many consumer organisations and some national authorities have produced mobile apps and guides that can help you find out what chemicals are present in certain products. We have collected some links that may be of interest to you below.