Chemical Alternatives Assessments
NGO Initiatives in the EU – Identifying Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) and Driving Safer Chemical Substitutes in Response to REACH
Published:17 Apr 2013
Tens of thousands of man‐made chemicals have been developed over the last few decades. Many are used in everyday products, from toys, textiles and paints to shampoo, electronic equipment and building materials. The problem is that we know little about their short‐ and long‐term effects on our health and on the environment. But we do know enough to understand that many of the chemicals in widespread use today are hazardous. However, in order to control the use of hazardous substances properly, one first needs to identify which substances should actually be prioritised, then different strategies can be used to promote the substitution of hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives. REACH, the new European Chemicals regulation, provides a legal framework both for the identification of hazardous substances and for substitution. This chapter outline show ChemSec, as an environmental non‐governmental organisation (NGO), has been influencing the phase out of hazardous chemicals together with key stakeholders such as policy makers, progressive companies and financial investors. ChemSec has 10 years of experience in encouraging the development of chemicals management by offering an open dialogue, and also concrete tools with an emphasis on identifying hazardous substances through the SIN List and more recently promoting the use of safer alternatives via SUBSPORT. The chapter also give a broad overview of the steps that NGOs take to influence and encourage companies and regulators both to strengthen chemicals regulation and to push them to perform better on all levels.