European Commission publishes an ambitious chemicals strategy for sustainability

The European Commission has presented its new chemicals strategy for sustainability, containing ambitions and objectives for EU chemicals policy over the coming years. Among other things, the strategy includes measures to control endocrine disrupting substances, hazardous substances in goods, especially those imported into the European Union, the combination effects of chemicals, and persistent organic pollutants such as PFAS.

The EU chemical strategy is intended to improve protection for people and the environment from hazardous chemicals, including by simplifying and strengthening legislation, and increasing the global competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry by developing safe and sustainable chemicals. This is part of the vision of net zero emissions for a toxic-free environment announced in the European Commission’s political agenda, A European Green Deal.

The strategy presents a new hierarchy for chemical management based on promoting the development of safe and sustainable chemicals while simultaneously phasing out non-essential uses of problematic substances.

In principle, the chemicals strategy is equivalent to the EU strategy for a non-toxic environment strategy that should have been prepared in 2018 as part of the 7th Environment Action Programme. Sweden and the Swedish Chemicals Agency have long lobbied for a non-toxic environment strategy that can take a holistic approach to chemicals issues at EU level.

“The new chemicals strategy is ambitious and includes many areas of importance in ongoing efforts to protect health and the environment. We are looking forward to analysing the strategy in detail to see how we can contribute to the work of implementing the promised measures,” says Per Ängquist, Director General of the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

In parallel with the chemicals strategy, the European Commission will also be publishing the 8th Environment Action Programme as well as a number of working documents, including an overview of current legislation on endocrine disrupting substances, a summary of the state of knowledge, risk-assessment methodology and current rules on the combination effects of chemicals, as well as factual data on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and background information regarding the measures proposed in the strategy.

For further information:

Learn more about the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: Towards a Toxic-Free Environment on the European Commission website. External link.

Memorandum from the Government Offices of Sweden on a chemicals strategy for a toxic-free environment (June 2020). External link.

Memorandum from the Swedish Chemicals Agency (July 2017). External link.

For more information, please contact:

Ellen Ingre-Khans, investigator, +46 (0)8 519 41 161

Helene Kanellopoulos, investigator, +46 (0)8 519 41 389

Urban Boije af Gennäs, investigator, +46 (0)8 519 41 391

Swedish Chemicals Agency Press Room, +46 (0)8 519 41 200,

Swedish Chemicals Agency Helpdesk Ask the Swedish Chemicals Agency