Under section 16 of the Chemicals Act 744/1989, manufacturers, importers and distributors of a chemical and other establishments responsible for placing a chemical on the market or for use must obtain information about the risks involved with their chemical in terms of its physical and chemical properties and about its effects on health and the environment. Therefore information regarding dangerous chemicals should be available from entrepreneurs through documentation such as safety data sheets. The chemical safety cards produced on the basis of chemical data sources such as various health and environmental sector factual databases and EU risk assessments and reductions make it easier to access information needed about the properties of chemicals.
Chemicals property data is also needed in decision-making processes related to a variety of authorisations and permits. Legislation such as the Environmental Protection Act and Decree requires that chemicals, particularly the substances and groups of substances listed in Annexes I and II to the Environmental Protection Decree, are taken into consideration in environmental permits.
Chemicals can only be appropriately considered in the permit process if entrepreneurs as well as permit and supervision authorities are able to identify the chemicals that play a key role in terms of the environmental perspective in each case. Therefore the chemical safety cards produced on the basis of EU risk assessments are a useful tool for a variety of permit processes.
Factual databases on chemicals
Information about the adverse effects of a chemical on human health and the environment is not always available. When released into the environment in contexts such as accidents, chemicals may cause danger to the environment and also the health of the local population. In such cases information about a chemical's properties may need to be sought from various sources in order to be able to assess the chemical's harmfulness. Factual databases on chemicals are useful in searches of information about chemicals' properties and effects. The assessment of the quality of information obtained and its interpretation, however, is up to the user or expert themselves. The pages on this website dedicated to factual databases on chemicals contain a collection of data sources that are freely available on the internet and provide information about the physical and chemical properties of chemicals as well as their health and environmental effects and behaviour.
Chemical safety cards
The EU risk assessment programme has been carried out on "existing" chemicals that were on the market before 1981 (the EINECS list, EEC 793/93). Based on the results of the risk assessments of authorised substances, risk reduction plans were formulated where necessary. In some cases these plans also resulted in legislative measures: banning certain substances or restricting their use at the Community and also at the national level. The chemical safety cards provide a summary of the conclusions drawn from the European Commission risk assessments regarding exposure to and hazards caused by each chemical as well as the chemical's health and environmental effects. The cards also enable the utilisation of extensive risk assessment reports in practical chemicals supervisory work.
The summaries also provide information about substance classification, concentrations known to be hazardous and use of the substance in Finland based on the Product Register of Chemicals (KETU-register). Information about the amounts of substance is also available from the database of Substances in Products in the Nordic Countries (SPIN-database).