ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, has launched the website “Chemicals in our life” aiming to provide useful information on the benefits and risks of using chemicals.
The website is designed to be user-friendly and it is divided into several sections: Trending, Products, Health, Environment, Work, and Hints & Tips.
The “Trending” section deals with news concerning chemicals.
The “Products” section provides specific information concerning various product category: clothing and textiles, electronics, plastic products, food, etc..
It is recommended buying products carrying official green and toxic-free labels, such as the EU Ecolabel, and consumers are encouraged to be informed, by suppliers, about chemicals contained in products. It also provides explanations on labels on chemicals and on the new hazard pictograms which warn of the damage a particular substance or mixture can cause to human health or to the environment introduced by the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation.
As a guide to choose safer products, the website reminds consumers to pay particular attention to CE markings on products. This is the marking that manufacturers are obliged to affix on products that fall under certain safety-related legislation. The marking is a sign of guarantee from the manufacturer that those products satisfy all EU legal requirements.
The “Health” section provides an explanation on health effects which chemicals may cause.
The “Environment” section allows users to explore effects of chemical use on the environment. It explains mitigating actions and environmental protection initiatives.
The “Work” section informs about safety precautions and exposure in a professional environment, providing advice on personal protection and chemical substitution by safer alternatives.
The “Hints & Tips” section contains tips for consumers on where to find more detailed information on specific topics.
This website is a useful reminder of some relevant restrictions or requirements. For example, on the website, by clicking on the “Products” and then “textiles and clothing” links, the user is immediately informed that “The EU is restricting or banning many dangerous chemicals that have been used in textiles for years, for example, azo colours (found in textiles and leather products), certain dye substances (textiles and leather products), chromium VI (leather products), dimethylfumarate (DMF, used to prevent mould) or certain phthalates (textiles, plastic shoes).”