EU Member State Policies
The policies presented below have been replaced by the European Union's REACH legislation and are offered for discussion of potential models for chemicals policy outside of Europe.
The Danish Government has a long history of work on chemicals policy. A range of chemical resources are available on the Danish Ministry of Environment web pages, including:
- A study using QSAR methods to create an advisory list for self-classifying more than 20,000 substances: see results.
- Investigations of chemicals in various consumer products.
- The Danish List of undesirable substances 2004, a list of substances that businesses are advised to avoid using if possible.
Germany has the largest chemical industry in Europe, and has a long history of regulation and research on chemicals. Useful resources include:
- The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety chemicals policy web pages.
- The German Federal Environment Agency, who have a number of chemical-related studies on its web site, including a study of dangerous substances in construction products.
- For a general overview of German chemicals management, see the National Profile of German Chemicals Management, published in 2005 as part of the UNITAR process for assembling national profiles of chemicals management.
- The NGO BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) has a chemicals campaign, and the International Chemicals Secretariat has a German section in their web site.
- The VCI is the German chemical industry association.
The Dutch government has done a very substantial amount of work examining new approaches to chemicals regulation, in particular how to accelerate action on those chemicals with the worst properties. This work has been done as part of the Strategy on Management of Substances (SOMs), and has included a number of major reports looking at how such a system could be implemented.
Sweden has a very long history of activism in chemicals policy, including being the first country to ban PCBs. Chemicals feature in Sweden's Environmental Quality Objectives, which include an overall goal that, one generation from now, the major environmental problems currently facing us will have been solved:
"The environment must be free from man-made or extracted compounds and metals that represent a threat to human health or biological diversity."
Useful resources include:
- The Swedish Ministry for Sustainable Development's chemicals page
- The web site of the Swedish chemicals inspectorate KEMI, which runs chemicals regulation in Sweden
- The Prio tool, devised by KEMI as " a guide for decision-making that can be used in setting risk reduction priorities"
- Swedish Environmental Quality Objectives
- International Chemicals Secretariat
The United Kingdom has a substantial chemical industry, and was one of the first European countries to initiate a review of its chemical policies, in 1997, resulting in a strategy which was published in 1999. One element of this strategy was the creation of a "Stakeholder Forum" in which issues relating to chemicals policy could be discussed - see the forum's web site for more details.
The Environment Agency, which regulates industrial pollution in England and Wales has produced its own chemicals strategy.
Useful resources include:
- The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, which advises the UK government, produced a substantial report on "The Long Term Effects of Chemicals in the Environment," which also makes recommendations for chemicals policies.