Advice on plastic
Chemicals from an individual plastic object rarely pose a problem for human health, but it is good for both people and the environment to try to reduce the total amount of chemical substances that are released from the articles. Here, you can read our general advice on plastics so that you can make more informed, chemical-smart choices in your everyday life.
1. Dusting and good ventilation
Plastic contains chemical substances that can leak out of the plastic and end up in the surrounding air and dust. Some of these substances may have properties that are harmful to health or the environment. Good ventilation can reduce the amount of the chemical substances that are released from plastics and, for example, end up in the indoor air. If you have small children at home who frequently crawl and play on the floor, it is a good idea to try to keep dust away in the rooms that children use. This reduces the risk of small children ingesting chemical substances that can be released into the air from plastics that accumulate in the dust.
2. Use plastic articles as they are intended to be used
It is always safest to use plastic articles and all other types of articles the way they are intended to be used. For example, the plastic in a garden hose is not manufactured in a way that takes into account that children are particularly sensitive to chemical substances. If a child bites down on such plastic, the risk increases that the child will ingest chemical substances that must not be present in things that are made for children, such as toys. But it is good to know that the risk of injury is usually low for plastic products, even if the plastic contains substances that are harmful to health. It is usually only with repeated and prolonged improper use of the plastic that one would consider there to be an increased risk.
3. Plastic articles from outside the EU may contain prohibited substances
If you order plastic articles via the Internet directly from a supplier outside the EU, the articles are not covered by the same legal requirements as plastic articles from within the EU. In the worst case scenario, the article can contain substances that are banned in the EU because they can pose a risk to health and the environment. If you would like to buy a product online, it is therefore good to try to find out if the article is manufactured for sale in the EU. For example, you can search for this information on the company’s website or ask the seller by email or phone.
4. Old plastic can contain hazardous chemical substances
Older, soft plastic may contain hazardous chemical substances that are not permitted today. This is because the EU has banned many substances that were previously used in plastics. Therefore, it is good to avoid letting small children suck on and play with old plastic. But if your child does happen to suck on an old plastic object on a few occasions, the risk of your children's health taking harm is usually very low.
5. You have the right to information about substances in plastic articles
When you buy plastic articles and other items in the EU as a private person, you have the right to receive information from whoever is selling the article.
Your right to information on the articles you purchase
You have the right to know the following regarding chemicals in the articles you buy:
- If an item you want to buy contains one of the especially hazardous substances that are listed on the EU Candidate List.
- If an item you want to buy has been treated with antibacterial substances or another biocidal product. Biocides can be added to articles to give the article a special function.