Hazardous substances

In its third key action ‘to safeguard the Union's citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing', the 7th Environment Action Programme sets out a long-term vision of a non-toxic environment and proposals for addressing the risks associated with chemicals in products and chemical mixtures.

Chemical indicators

Eurostat's hazardous substance indicators are based on industrial production statistics. Production volumes are aggregated according to the substances' toxic properties and related environmental concerns.

Eurostat publishes two indicators:

  • ‘Production of environmentally harmful substances', a pressure indicator showing the potential impact of chemicals on the aquatic environment, and
  • ‘Production of toxic chemicals, broken down by toxicity class', one of the Sustainable Development Indicators (SDI) in ‘Public health'.

Both indicators provide long time series. Country-level data cannot be published for reasons of confidentiality. The indicators show whether toxic chemicals are being replaced by less hazardous substances.

The methodology paper Compilation of chemical indicators — Development, revision and additional analyses provides a comprehensive description of the way chemical indicators have been developed by Eurostat.

REACH baseline study

When the EU's new REACH policy (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) took effect in 2007, Eurostat developed an indicator-based methodology to monitor its effectiveness in protecting human health and the environment. This was described in the 2009 REACH baseline study.

The study was updated once REACH had been in place for five years and was used in the first effectiveness assessment in 2012 (see updated Statistics Explained Chemicals - monitoring REACH with indicators and the previous version of Statistics Explained  Chemicals - monitoring REACH with indicators (2012)). The European Commission published the 2017 REACH baseline study - 10 years update (here).