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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
Uutisartikkeli11. toukokuuta 2022Euroopan ilmasto-, infrastruktuuri- ja ympäristöasioiden toimeenpanovirasto

LIFE AskREACH: Raising awareness of hazardous substances  

LIFE16 GIE/DE/000738
LIFE16 GIE/DE/000738. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

LIFE AskREACH helps consumers and companies apply the ‘right to know’ about substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in everyday goods. 

Products we buy may contain harmful substances which can have severe effects on our health and the environment. The EU’s response is the REACH Regulation, which aims to protect human health and our surroundings through the better and earlier identification of SVHCs. 

Greater consumer awareness about SVHCs is crucial to the successful implementation of REACH. Suppliers of articles and retailers also need to be more aware of their responsibilities. The team behind LIFE AskREACH is raising awareness among manufacturers, importers, consumers and retailers of the need to replace hazardous substances with less harmful alternatives. 

They developed a database containing information on SVHCs in products provided by article suppliers. They connected the database to the project’s Scan4Chem smartphone application.  

Already downloaded more than 90 000 times, Scan4Chem allows consumers in 18 countries to scan a product’s barcode and request information from the supplier about the presence of SVHCs. These countries are Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal and Serbia. Also, consumers in Belgium and Spain will soon have access. 

Scan4Chem currently has SVHC information on over 8.5 million products. Recent tests to verify this information show very encouraging progress compared to the results of a sports articles testing conducted in 2020. 49 products listed as SVHC-free found the information submitted from suppliers was correct as none could be detected at a concentration above 0.1%. This contrasts sharply with the 2020 test, in which SVHCs were present in 24% of the tested items, and the limit of 0.1% was exceeded in about 11% of all cases. 

‘The more questions asked using Scan4Chem, the more important it will become for retailers and producers to register and upload data and make it readily available to interested consumers,’ says project coordinator Ioannis Dosis. 

Beyond the app, project partners are running an awareness-raising campaign targeting consumers and companies in all the participating countries. For example, a social media campaign in December 2021 using the hashtag #ToxicFreeXmas explained how people could have a more sustainable and less harmful Christmas. 

Also, LIFE AskREACH currently invites companies to submit their entries for the project’s company awards - as either the most SVHC-aware retailer or the best supply chain communicator.  

Applications are open until 31 May. 

More information 

Infographic: How LIFE is helping make chemicals safer 

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