The attestation and verification of the safe use of industrial and consumer chemicals is primarily based on activity under the REACH and CLP Regulations. Procedures under these Regulations seek to ensure that the most harmful substances are replaced by safer substances or technologies/methods. This applies to both chemicals intended for industrial and professional use and particularly to chemicals used by consumers. Most chemicals used have hazardous properties, and it is required by legislation that substance manufacturers and importers must determine the hazardous properties of substances placed on the market by them and assess the risks posed by their use.
Based on the results of these assessments, manufacturers and importers must determine which protective measures need to be taken to prevent the use of the substance from posing a risk to human health or the environment. Manufacturers and importers must provide information about these prerequisites of safe usage in the safety data sheet and package labelling for professional and industrial users. Users must take these instructions provided by manufacturers and importers into consideration when using substances.
The hazardous properties of substances are used as a basis for the classification of chemicals and the attachment of package warning labels that describe their hazardous properties and the safety measures required because of them. The package labelling requirements also apply to chemicals sold to consumers. For the consumer the chemical label is an important source of information needed to ensure the safe use of the chemical.
The procedures required by the REACH and CLP Regulations apply to all EU Member States. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) plays a key role in their administration, while national authorities also play an important role in process initiation. National authorities also participate in the processing of proposals when matters are considered by the ECHA Committees, with Tukes officials also participating in the work of the Committees.
Issues that are particularly topical at the EU and international organisation levels include the development of regulation systems for endocrine disrupters and substances in nanoform. Tukes participates actively in this work too.
The determination of the properties of substances is based on the availability of testing methods that have been mutually accepted at the international (OECD) and EU level. The development of these methods is a continuous process to which Tukes is also contributing.
Detergents form a product group regarding which the EU has enacted specific special legislation to prevent health and environmental damage, with Tukes the agency responsible for its national implementation in Finland.