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Replacing hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives


Head of Unit for risk management implementation, European Chemical Agency (ECHA)


Substituting hazardous substances with safer alternatives, contributes to a non-toxic environment, a circular economy and promotes innovation, as well as sustainable production and consumption. European Chemical Agency’s new substitution strategy aims to help companies to replace substances of concern with safer substances and technologies.


REACH, CLP and the Biocidal Products regulations are designed to provide incentives for industry to replace hazardous substances with less harmful ones. By implementing these regulations successfully, ECHA directly and indirectly supports substitution.

ECHA’s new strategy, published in January 2018, aims to boost the substitution of chemicals of concern throughout the EU in different ways. It aims to improve access to ECHA’s data on chemicals to avoid regrettable substitution. It also aims to increase the capacity of Member States and stakeholders to carry out analyses of alternatives, trying to increase support for innovation for substitution and providing opportunities for networking.

Successful substitution is underpinned by research and development (R&D). The strategy looks at ways to help companies innovate and invest in R&D. Since the strategy is linked to current EU priorities on a circular economy, a non-toxic environment and sustainable production and use of chemicals, it calls for coordinated, EU-wide actions that take into account the life cycle of products.

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