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Are chemicals in articles an obstacle for reaching environmental goals?: Missing links in eu chemical management
Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Umeå University, Sweden.
Umeå University, Sweden.
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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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 435, 280-289 p.
Keyword [en]
Consumer articles, Priority substances, REACH, The Water Framework Directive, The Sewage Sludge Directive, EU environmental policy
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83990DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.07.021ISI: 000310396100034OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83990DiVA: diva2:577955
Note

AuthorCount:5;

Available from: 2012-12-17 Created: 2012-12-17 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Chemicals in consumer products: Bridging the gap between academic research and chemicals regulation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Chemicals in consumer products: Bridging the gap between academic research and chemicals regulation
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Exposure to chemicals emitting from consumer products, such as clothes, electronic devices, toys and kitchen-ware, has emerged as an issue of public health and environmental concern. The use of chemicals having endocrine disrupting properties in commercial products is receiving particular attention as low dose exposures of such chemicals have been associated with adverse effects in both human and wildlife populations. Current chemicals regulation has been criticized for not providing adequate protection of human health and the environment with regard to consumer products. The aim of this thesis has been to provide new insights and methods related to the risk assessment and risk management of chemicals in consumer products in order to ensure a safer and more sustainable use.

The comparative analyses of different EU regulatory frameworks targeting the use of chemicals in articles identified a number of shortcomings and inconsistencies in how chemicals in articles are regulated. One main conclusion from Paper I was that product specific rules are important complements to REACH as they can more easily be tailored for certain uses and exposure scenarios. In Paper II it was investigated whether the regulation of chemicals in articles according to REACH is sufficient for meeting EU environmental goals, which include rectifying environmental problems at the source. It was concluded that the prioritization of substances to be targeted by restrictions and other requirements under REACH to a greater extent should take into account substances that have been identified as posing a risk to or via the environment.

With the aim to facilitate the use of all reliable and relevant toxicity information in regulatory health risk assessment of chemicals, a method for systematic and transparent evaluation of non-standard research studies, as well as reporting guidance for such studies, were developed in Paper III. It has for example been emphasized that non-standard research studies can provide valuable information with regard to endocrine disrupting effects. Such effects are not systematically tested for in standardized studies commonly preferred in regulatory risk assessments. In Paper IV, the method for study evaluation proposed in Paper III was combined with recently developed web-based tools that aid summarizing and visualizing toxicity data extracted from several studies. The combined use was found to comprise a promising methodology for identifying reliable and sensitive information from in vivo toxicity studies of relevance to consider in the risk assessment process.

The new methods and tools proposed and evaluated in this thesis will hopefully help improve the use of non-standard studies for risk assessment purposes and thereby strengthen the link between academic research and chemicals policy. In my view, this would be an important step towards improving public health protection with regard to the use of chemicals in consumer products.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University: Stockholm University, 2015. 42 p.
Keyword
consumer products, articles, chemicals, chemicals regulation, REACH, risk management, health risk assessment, non-standard toxicity studies, study evaluation, reporting guidance, endocrine disrupting compounds, bisphenol A, low dose effects
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Applied Environmental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120285 (URN)978-91-7649-244-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-06, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-09-17 Created: 2015-09-04 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved

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