Hazardous substances - Environment

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 makes proposals to address the risks associated with chemicals in products and chemical mixtures.

Eurostat has developed and publishes each year a set of chemical indicators to monitor progress in reducing the production of chemicals which are hazardous to human health or the environment by replacing them with less hazardous chemicals.

Chemical indicators

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

Eurostat publishes 1 dataset and 1 derived indicator:

  • ‘Production and consumption of chemicals by hazard class’, a dataset covering the production and consumption of industrial chemicals with a particular focus on substances that are hazardous to human health or the environment.
  • ‘Consumption of chemicals by hazardousness - EU aggregate’, an indicator that is part of the EU Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicator set. It is used to monitor progress towards SDG 12 on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The data refer to the EU aggregate. Country-level data cannot be published for reasons of confidentiality. The data in classes relating to ‘hazard to health’ and ‘hazard to the environment’ show whether hazardous chemicals are being replaced by less hazardous substances.

A methodology paper entitled Compilation of chemical indicators — Development, revision and additional analyses describes in detail how Eurostat has developed chemical indicators.

REACH baseline study

When the EU's Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) policy 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 REACH study, updated in 2012, was used in the first effectiveness assessment (see updated Statistics Explained article ‘Chemicals - monitoring REACH with indicators’ and its previous version. The European Commission published the 2017 REACH baseline study - 10 years update.

Access to the data via ready made tables (Main tables)

Access to more detailed data (database)