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The Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes legislation regarding hazardous substances in construction products

News 12/2/2015

Sweden should introduce legislation regarding hazardous substances in construction products. This proposal is presented by the Swedish Chemicals Agency in a report to the Government today. The proposal aims to protect individuals, particularly children, from hazardous substances that may be present in the indoor Environment.

“Research has shown that hazardous substances from building products can be present in the indoor environment. We propose a new regulation in Sweden, so that construction products in floors, walls and ceilings must be proven to be safe,” notes Erik Gravenfors, project manager for the government assignment at the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

It has been found that a typical indoor environment can contain approximately 500 organic compounds originating from construction products. Some of these substances can contribute to causing cancer, allergies, birth defects, impaired fertility and fetal damage. The Swedish Chemicals Agency therefore proposes today that Sweden should implement national threshold values regarding harmful chemical substances that may be emitted from building products.

It is proposed that the new regulation will apply to construction products used to construct indoor flooring, wall and ceiling sections. In several other European countries, such as Germany, France and Belgium, similar legislation is already in place.

“The objective is to contribute to a better indoor environment, and the proposal means that we introduce a minimum level of requirements for construction products. In order to minimise potential obstacles to trade, the rules are designed in the same way as those that exist in many other EU countries,” observes Erik Gravenfors.

Today’s report is the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s response to a mandate from the Government to investigate the need for a national regulation concerning hazardous substances in construction products. The Swedish Chemicals Agency has developed the proposal after consultation with the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, and the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The Swedish Chemicals Agency has also consulted with representatives of industry associations, governmental agencies, assessment systems for building products and NGOs including environmental protection organisations, as well as property owners, entrepreneurs and scientists.

Read the full report (PDF, in Swedish, summary in English on page 8)

For additional information, please contact:

Erik Gravenfors, Project manager, +46 8 519 41 157, +46 76-504 11 57

Björn Malmström, Press Officer, +46 76 504 13 38

E-mail addresses to Chemicals Agency employees are written as follows: firstname.surname@kemi.se