Hazardous chemicals in consumer products

Many consumer products contain hazardous substances and do not comply with chemical regulations according to an EU enforcement project covering 2,400 products and articles.

Almost one fifth (18%) of the tested products and articles from the 26 EU countries did not comply with current chemical regulations. Non-compliances were found mostly in relation to the RoHS Directive (49%) and to a lesser extent the REACH Regulation (13%), the Toy Safety Directive (10%) and the POP Regulation (9%).

Critical substances
Most critical substances were found in electrical devices (52%) such as electronic toys, chargers and headphones. Excessive levels included lead in solders, phthalates in soft plastic parts, or cadmium in circuit boards.

Within sports equipment, various soft plastic toys and fashion accessories such as bags and jewellery, 15-18% of the inspected products were non-compliant. 

The chemical mixtures with the highest non-compliance rate were paint strippers (38%) containing dichloromethane, followed by glues (12%) containing toluene and chloroform. 

Most of the non-compliant products have been withdrawn from the market.

Your responsibilities as an importer
Many of the non-compliant products originate from outside the EU or from countries of unknown origin. If you import consumer products from countries outside the EU, you must pay particular attention to what the imported products contain and be critical of the information you receive from your suppliers.

For more information or help with chemicals in consumer products, please contact:

Anne Rathmann Pedersen 
Tel +45 4516 9370