Laws and regulations concerning plastic

Content:

It must be safe for private individuals to use articles made from plastic. Legislation has gradually become more stringent, which means that today's regulations protect us better than the regulations that existed a few years ago. Old plastics can therefore contain more substances that are harmful to health than new plastics sold in Sweden and in the rest of the EU.

Rules for chemical substances in toys

These EU rules take into account that children are particularly sensitive to chemical substances. The rules for articles intended for children up to three years of age also take into account the tendency of children to put things in their mouths, and are therefore even stricter. The rules for toys in the EU are more extensive and limit more chemical substances than legislation for any other articles sold in the EU. This is why it is often safer to let small children play with toys instead of other articles.

Read more about the rules for toys here

Rules for plastic in contact with food

Rules for plastic in contact with food take into account the fact that additives in the plastic can migrate from the plastic materials to food.

Read about food contact materials (FCMs) on the Swedish National Food Agency’s websiteexternal link

Regulations on the chemical content of plastic items and other articles

The REACH Regulation on chemicals governs, among other things, which substances may not be present in, for example, furniture, textiles and other items that you use in your everyday life. It is good to know that you as an individual have the right to receive information about especially hazardous substances in all articles sold within the EU.

The app "Scan4Chem" (in Sweden "Kemikalieappen", language is set after having downloaded the app) is a tool that will make it easier for you to get information about hazardous substances in articles.external link

Read more about your right to information

Read more about the REACH Regulation

Rules for chemical substances in electronic products

Plastics in electrical and electronic products can sometimes contain various chemical substances that are intended, for example, to prevent the plastic from catching fire if it gets overheated. A variety of other chemical substances with different functions may also need to be used in these types of articles. There are special regulations that, in addition to the REACH Regulation, limit the substances that may be present in these types of articles. One is called the RoHS Directive.

Read more about the RoHS Directive for electrical and electronic products here

Rules for plastic articles treated with biocides

All articles in the EU that are treated with antibacterial substances or other so-called biocidal products must be labelled with information about the product’s content. This rule is contained in the EU Biocidal Products Regulation. Sometimes biocides are used in articles where they are not really needed. When you see a product that has been treated to have antibacterial properties, for example, try to think about whether you really need this function. Biocides can affect both your health and the environment.

Read more about the rules for biocides here

Last published 26 February 2021