BaltInfoHaz - Baltic Info Campaign on Hazardous Substances

LIFE10 INF/EE/000108

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Contact person: Kai KLEIN
Tel: +37253338572
Fax: +372 6597 027
Email: kai.klein@bef.ee

Project description:


Harmful industrial chemicals can remain in the environment for very long periods of time, enabling them to accumulate via food chains and, if toxic, exert harmful effects on living organisms. These so-called persistent bio-accumulative toxic (PBT) substances can also be transported long distances from their original emission source, causing significant damage to ecosystems. PBT contamination is a recognised problem in the Baltic Sea region, however there is a lack of reliable information about the occurrence of these harmful substances and their sources. Earlier actions, including the activities of HELCOM, Baltic Sea Action programmes and work at EU level with bans, restrictions and other measures, have led to noticeable improvements and are helping to repair the damage to the marine environment. However, there are still issues to be resolved concerning the environment and individual products; the impacts are complex and therefore require complex solutions for mitigation.


The goal of the BaltInfoHaz project was to strengthen consumer demand in three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) for products free of hazardous substances, so as to reduce their impact on health and the environment. It also aimed to communicate its environmental message to policymakers, nationally and internationally. Specific project objectives were to inform people about why substances are hazardous and the products they occur in; to publish easy-to-understand information aimed at specific stakeholder groups; to develop communication tools; to explain practical steps for reducing exposure to hazardous substances; and to inform and influence educators about hazardous substances.


The BaltInfoHaz project generated a societal demand in three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) for products free of hazardous substances. The project’s four awareness-raising campaigns targeted the general public; hairdressers and car repair shops; the consumers of paints, varnishes and adhesives; and young teachers and their pupils. Other core actions included lobbying for the integration of hazardous substance reduction measures into policy, and testing blood, air and products for hazardous substances. The project helped implement EU chemicals policy, particularly the requirements of the REACH regulation, the Water Framework Directive, the Baltic Sea Strategy, and HELCOM activities aiming for an environment free of hazardous substances.

The awareness-raising campaign targeted at the general public reached around 1 000 000 people in three Baltic States. Thanks to the project, almost 500 articles were published concerning hazardous substances. In Estonia and Latvia, 94 shop assistants in 16 K-Rauta shops were trained on hazardous substances issues. Around 320 students and acting teachers received training and 4 000 pupils were taught about the topic in Estonia and Latvia. The project’s website had around 80 500 unique visitors. Other project deliverables included 6 guidebooks, on household chemicals, cosmetics, baby care, toys, renovation, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs); a handbook for hairdressers and car repair shops, as well as leaflets for their clients; 2 leaflets for clients of K-Rauta stores; a teachers' handbook; 20 animations and 3 longer videos, and other brochures and gadgets. As a result, the BEF offices in the Baltic States are now regarded as information centres on hazardous substances in consumer goods.

The project team took and analysed blood, dust, air and product samples for hazardous substances. The blood tests showed that all samples contained a cocktail of different hazardous substances. The publication of the blood test results, in particular, attracted considerable media interest and helped raise awareness about the wider issue of hazardous substances in products. The testing results have been valuable as background information, and to provide evidence of the presence and concentrations of hazardous substances to help decision-making in relevant authorities.

To evaluate the environmental impacts of the project, two sets of measurements were applied: ‘soft’ (e.g. increase of awareness among selected stakeholder groups, changes in consumption patterns) and ‘hard’ (quantitative reduction of hazardous substances put in the market due to changes in sales of particular product groups). According to Eurobarometer surveys (‘Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment’) done in 2011 and 2014, awareness on chemicals in everyday products increased in all three countries: in Lithuania by 12% (51% to 63%), in Estonia by 13% (35% to 48%), and in Latvia by 9% (44% to 53%); although this effect cannot be attributed entirely to the BaltInfoHaz project. As a result of increased sales of tagged (project’s "safer choice" tag) paints, varnishes and adhesives, with less hazardous substances, in comparison to non-tagged products, reductions were recorded for four hazardous substances: methyl ethyl ketoxime (25-26 kg/year), cobalt bis(2-ethylhexanoate) (25-26 kg/year), methylchloroisothiazolinone (0.12-0.14 kg/year) and Benzisothiazolinone (0.25-0.26 kg/year) in Estonia and Latvia.

The project had difficulties obtaining information from car repair shops, as this target group showed limited interest in providing input for guidelines and leaflets for clients. The project also approached municipal car parks and car washes. The organisation of information days for students studying to be car mechanics was considered a success and has the potential for a multiplier effect for passing on knowledge. Socio-economic benefits from the project arise through improved human health, both among people employed in the targeted fields and the general public. This could result in reduced medical costs and less working time lost due to occupational illness. The project team also believes that the demand for safer products creates opportunities for small-scale local businesses. Products containing fewer hazardous substances will lead to less pressure on the environment, and less resources needed to handle these substances.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Risk management - Industrial risks - Hazardous substances


environmental education‚  public awareness campaign‚  consumption pattern‚  hazardous substance

Target EU Legislation

  • Chemicals & Hazardous substances
  • "Regulation 1272/2008 - Classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (amend ...
  • Regulation 528/2012 - Making available on the market and use of biocidal products (Biocidal Produ ...
  • Regulation 850/2004 - Persistent organic pollutants (amended by Regulations 756 and 757/2010) (29 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator MTÜ Balti Keskkonnafoorum (BalticEnvironmental Forum Estonia)
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Founded in 2003, the Baltic Environmental Forum Estonia (BEF Estonia) is a non-governmental, non profit-making organisation, and also a member of the Baltic Environmental Forum Group. The organisation has a wide experience in both national and EU-funded environmental projects. One of its specialist fields is chemicals control and the impact of hazardous substances on the environment.
Partners Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia (BEF LV) Baltic Environmental Forum Lithuania (BEF LT) Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) Vides Film Studio, Latvia Tallinn University, Estonia Liepaja University, Latvia AS Rautakesko Latvia Rautakesko AS Estonia


Project reference LIFE10 INF/EE/000108
Duration 01-OCT-2011 to 30-SEP -2015
Total budget 1,683,396.00 €
EU contribution 834,573.00 €
Project location Põhja-Eesti(Estonia Eesti)


Read more:

Brochure "Statybinės medžiagos ir baldai : Jauki namų aplinka be pavojingų cheminių medžiagų" (1.5 MB)
Brochure "Endokrinine sistema ardancios medziagos : Turime teise zinoti!" (972 KB)
Brochure "Zaislai : Kokiais zaislais zaidzia jusu vaikai?" (1.62 MB)
Brochure "Yra daugybè priezasciu dometis pavojingomis cheminemis medziagomis" (945 KB)
Brochure "Buitinė chemija : Ar tikrai reikia daugybės buitinės chemijos priemonių?" (1.4 MB)
Brochure "Kosmetika : Ar tinkamai rūpinatės savo kūnu?" (1.44 MB)
Brochure "Vaikų priežiūros priemonės : Ar jų gamybai tikrai naudojamos pavojingos medžiagos?" (1.45 MB)
Leaflet "Endokriinsüsteemi kahjustavad kemikaalid (EDCd) – ...
Leaflet "Endokrinine sistema ardancios medziagos - Atsiasa ...
Leaflet "Pagalvok, kai perki : Rinkus prekes be pavojingu ...
Leaflet "Ohtlikud kemikaalid ehitusmaterjalides ja sisevii ...
Leaflet "Valige tooteid märgusidiga "Ohutum valik"! " (4.6 ...
Poster "Poster : Varjatud ohud sinu lapse toas" (246 KB)
Poster "Project's posters" (1.29 MB)
Poster "Project's posters" (88.5 KB)
Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Book "Eko atmintinė...nuo pirmadienio iki sekmadienio.. ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Estonian version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Latvian version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Lithuanian version)
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Motle, Mida tarbid : Vali vähem ohtlikke aineid s ...
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Slides Presentation "Trying to undersatand the systemic aspects of the ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version