Chemical Safety

Chemicals are part of modern life. Most of these substances contribute to our well-being and improve our quality of life, but some can damage our health or the environment. Chemical Safety is achieved by undertaking all activities involving chemicals in such a way as to ensure the safety of human health and the environment. EU policy on chemicals aims to ensure that the chemicals are safe and keep EU industry competitive internationally.

In Europe, The Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), which entered into force on June 1, 2007, is by far the most important piece of the EU chemical legislation. It has been created to ensure the safe use of all chemical substances in the EU, both manufactured and imported. In many ways, it is an ambitious, breakthrough approach to chemicals management.

All companies that manufacture or import chemicals in quantities of one tonne or more have to register these substances with the European Chemicals Agency . Companies have to provide information on a substance’s properties and how it should be handled. Substances produced in larger quantities also need a safety report.

BSEF, together with the global chemical industry, is convinced that laws should be based on risk and actual science:

Regarding chemicals management, BSEF assists our member companies and our global partners regarding

  1. compliance with global chemicals regulations, standards and voluntary programs
  2. staying up to date on science of human and environmental risk
  3. information on media coverage of brominated substances

EU REACH Regulation: Reg (EC) 1907/2006 on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of CHemicals addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency manages the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of REACH.

All BFRs produced by BSEF member companies above 1 ton/year on the EU market are registered.

EU CLP Regulation: Reg (EC) 1272/2008 on Classification, Labelling and Packaging, based on the United Nations’ GHS (Globally Harmonised System), is managed by ECHA and applicable to all industrial sectors. It requires manufacturers, importers or downstream users of substances or mixtures to classify, label and package their hazardous chemicals appropriately before placing them on the market, thereby ensuring a high level of protection of health and the environment, as well as the free movement of substances, mixtures and articles.

EU Biocides Regulation: Reg (EU) 528/2012 on Biocidal Products (BPR) regulates the placing on the market and use of biocidal products requires all biocidal products, like several bromides substances, to receive EU approval of its active substance and authorisation, at EU level or at Member State level, before they can be placed on the market.

EU POPs regulation: Reg (EC) 850/2004 aligns EU laws with the provisions of the international agreements on POPs, to a certain extent going further than the international POPs agreements, containing provisions regarding production, placing on the market and use of chemicals, management of stockpiles and wastes, and measures to reduce unintentional releases of POPs. EU member states must set up emission inventories for unintentionally produced POPs, national implementation plans (NIPs) and monitoring and information exchange mechanisms. DecaBDE and HBCD are brominated substances, not produced anymore by BSEF member companies, defined as POPs.

EU RoHS Directive: Dir (EC) 2002/95 (RoHS1) and Dir (EU) 2011/65 (RoHS2) on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment, restricts (with exceptions) the use of ten hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment.

EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED): Dir (EU) 2010/75 aims to lower the emissions of industrial production to the environment aims to lower emissions from industrial production (‘the polluter pays’) through an integrated approach based on Best Available Technology (BAT).  IED BREFs (Best Available Technology Reference documents) address BATs (best available technologies) and BEPs (Best environmental practice) for waste processing and use of BFR-containing products to produce energy or products. The BREF LPC (Large Combustion Plants) describes BAT/BEP for emissions of dioxins and furans from waste incineration facilities and Cement Kilns incinerating waste, with or without energy recuperation, and defines limit values for Mercury emissions and includes bromine technologies as a means to meet these reduced values.

EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive: Dir (EC) 2002/96 defines collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods, with a minimum rate of 4 kilograms per head of population per annum recovered for recycling by 2009. Electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) is the term used for waste from a huge spectrum of products using electricity. Each piece of equipment consists of many components such as circuit boards/assemblies, cables, plastics containing flame retardants, cathode ray tubes or liquid crystal displays, accumulators and batteries.

EU Safety and Health at Work directive: Dir (EEC) 89/391 guarantees minimum safety and health requirements throughout Europe while Member States are allowed to maintain or establish more stringent measures.

In addition to helping improve the performance and effectiveness of the EU regulatory programs, by being a respectable partner providing appreciated scientific info to public consultations, BSEF also supports initiatives that compliment these policies: examples are Product stewardship and Responsible Care®, Bromaid and VECAP

BSEF also supports standards (technical or organizational), incorporated in some regulations, being important management tools for chemicals. Examples are the EE standards EN 50625:2014 (‘Collection, logistics & Treatment requirements for WEEE’) and EN 62321:2014 (‘Determination of certain substances in electrotechnical products’).