Specific chemicals require additional or tailored legislation due to characteristics that make them different from other chemicals (e.g. relevance of nutrient content and specific pollutants for fertilising products, biodegradability for detergents, traceability and safety for critical chemicals, such as explosives, pyrotechnics, and drug precursors, etc.)
Specific chemicals include
Fertilisers are chemical compounds providing nutrients to plants. So-called 'EC fertilisers' are regulated by Regulation (EC) No 2003/2003 on fertilisers and may circulate freely within the EU single market. EC fertilisers comply with fertiliser type designations in the annexes to the regulation. They also guarantee farmers a minimum nutrient content and overall safety, in particular for high nitrogen content ammonium nitrate fertilisers. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to make sure that a fertiliser labelled as an 'EC Fertiliser' meets the technical and labelling requirements of the regulation.
This regulation applies almost exclusively to fertilisers from mined or chemically produced, inorganic materials. The manufacturer has the possibility to choose between
The rules for other fertilising products (such as organic fertilisers) are not harmonised by this regulation. They are governed by national laws and the mutual recognition rules apply
The fertilising products regulation applies as of 15 July 2022.
The main elements of the new rules are
Both the European Commission and the EU countries work on preparing the smooth implementation of the new rules.
For more details on the already ongoing work on the implementation of the new rules, follow the activity of the fertilising products working group.
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Detergents are products containing soaps or other surfactants intended for washing and cleaning.
Regulation (EC) No 648/2004 on detergents ensures that only detergents with surfactants that are fully biodegradable may be placed on the market. In addition, detergent labels must contain ingredient and dosage information. This is to protect the health of consumers, especially against allergies, and to avoid the over-use of detergents.
In particular, this Regulation harmonises the following rules for placing detergents and surfactants for detergents, on the EU market:
Commercial explosives are essential for quarrying, mining, oil drilling and infrastructure construction. Directive 2014/28/EU harmonises EU country laws covering availability on the market, supervision of explosives for civil uses, and essential safety requirements for civil explosives while providing a high level of protection. It also creates an administrative system for the supervision of intra-EU transfers to protect the public from illicit uses.
More on legislation and documents concerning explosives for civil uses.
Pyrotechnic articles are mainly used in automotive restraint systems (airbags and seatbelt tensioners) and fireworks. Directive 2013/29/EU on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of pyrotechnic articles:
If justified on grounds of public order, security, health, safety or environmental protection, EU countries may restrict or ban the sale of certain types of pyrotechnic articles.
Drug precursors are chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, or methamphetamines. However, many of these chemicals have primarily large and varied legitimate uses, for example in the production of plastics, medicinal products, cosmetics, perfumes, detergents, and aromas. Effective control of the legitimate trade of these chemicals is the best way of fighting their diversion for illicit drug manufacture.
Regulation (EC) No 273/2004 (intra-Union market) and Regulation (EC) No 111/2005 (external trade) lay down harmonised degrees of control for economic operators and professional users, as well as for trade transactions, depending on the sensitivity of the drug precursors concerned. In addition, the regulations create a partnership between authorities and operators to identify diversion attempts.