Substitution of Hazardous Chemicals: Where the Real Problems Lie

A Swedish study shows that the substitution of hazardous chemicals is progressing more slowly than expected. In the analysis published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, the authors compared criteria and processes that are decisive for the selection of a substitution candidate – for pesticides, biocides, and industrial chemicals.

The authors concluded that the criteria used to identify the candidates are, in fact, almost identical for pesticides, biocides, and industrial chemicals. However, the evaluation process differs. All pesticides and biocides are systematically evaluated during the authorization procedure using the defined substitution criteria. However, the procedure for industrial chemicals is limited from the outset to substances that have been classified as substances of very high concern. That means that the evaluation does not include nine out of ten REACH substances. A lack of data often makes a clear classification impossible.

The authors have identified this lack of reliable hazard and exposure data as the main problem. It also makes it difficult to identify possible alternative substances as safe, so that critical substances generally remain on the market longer than planned.

In conclusion, the authors call for REACH substances to be checked for their properties of very high concern at the registration stage.


The aim of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) published in October 2020 is a pollutant-free environment. Hazardous substances should therefore be gradually replaced by less hazardous alternatives.

Ensure the legal security of your products as soon as possible. Contact us at


Share This Post

Post Navigation