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Environment
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Chemicals strategy

The EU’s chemicals strategy for sustainability towards a toxic-free environment

Chemicals strategy visual

Chemicals are essential for the well-being, high living standards and comfort of modern society. They are used in many sectors, including health, energy, mobility and housing.

However, most chemicals have hazardous properties which can harm the environment and human health.

The EU already has sophisticated chemicals laws in place, but global chemicals production is expected to double by 2030. The already widespread use of chemicals will also increase, including in consumer products.

The European Commission published a chemicals strategy for sustainability on 14 October 2020. It is part of the EU’s zero pollution ambition, which is a key commitment of the European Green Deal.

Objectives

The EU’s chemicals strategy aims to

  • better protect citizens and the environment
  • boost innovation for safe and sustainable chemicals

Actions

  • banning the most harmful chemicals in consumer products - allowing their use only where essential
  • account for the cocktail effect of chemicals when assessing risks from chemicals
  • phasing out the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the EU, unless their use is essential
  • boosting the investment and innovative capacity for production and use of chemicals that are safe and sustainable by design, and throughout their life cycle
  • promoting the EU’s resilience of supply and sustainability of critical chemicals
  • establishing a simpler “one substance one assessment”  process for the risk and hazard assessment of chemicals
  • playing a leading role globally by championing and promoting high standards and not exporting chemicals banned in the EU

Timeline

Previous and upcoming actions 

  1. 14 October 2020
    Publication of chemicals strategy
  2. 9 May 2020
    Publication of chemicals strategy roadmap

    For more information on the roadmap and feedback, visit here. 

  3. 11 December 2019
    Publication of the European Green Deal

Policy areas

Chemicals : EU action to ensure chemicals are safe, for health and the environment.

Circular economy : EU action to ensure chemicals are safe, for health and the environment.