Your right to information
You have the right to receive information about chemicals in articles and chemical products. This is information that can make it easier for you to make informed, chemical-smart choices in your everyday life.
When you shop in the EU, you as a consumer have the right to receive information about especially hazardous substances found in the products you want to buy, such as mobile phones, home furnishings and clothing. Among other things, you have the right to know if the article contains any especially hazardous substance that is on the EU’s so-called Candidate List of substances. You have the right to receive this information from the seller of the article if the amount of an especially hazardous substance in the article exceeds 0.1 per cent of the product by weight. This must be done free of charge and within 45 days of the date you request the information.
The Candidate List
The Candidate List is a list of substances with properties that make them especially hazardous, as they can have serious, long-term and lasting effects on human health or the environment. The substances can, for example, cause cancer, negatively affect the ability to have children or be harmful to the environment. Under EU chemicals legislation, substances on the Candidate List are allowed in everyday items. The Candidate List is continuously updated with new substances that are considered to be especially hazardous. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) updates the list twice a year.
You also have the right to receive information about everyday articles that have been treated with substances in order to achieve a special function. This could be, for example, sportswear that has been treated with antibacterial substances. In many cases, it is required that information about the biocide treatment be placed on the the article.
Hazardous chemical products
You also have the right to information about hazardous chemical products, such as lighter fluid, dishwasher detergent, detergent, drain cleaner, pesticides and similar. You do not need to ask the seller for this information; it must be available directly on the packaging.
Look for the warning label and read the information on the product packaging so that you know how to use the chemical product safely.
If you plan to buy a disinfectant or pesticides to control, for example, insects or mice, the store you purchase the item from has an obligation to inform you about how to use the product safely. It may be the case that the front of the package clearly states that you must read the product label and other product information before use. It may also be the case that this information can be found on a sign on the shelf at the store. Pesticides in Sweden must have information on the product in Swedish on how to use the product safely.
Tools for those with further questions
To make it easier for you to ask the questions you want answered, there is a form that you can fill in to give to the store staff. It is not required that you use the form, but it can be helpful. On the form, you can choose to ask about both the content of especially hazardous substances and the biocide treatment of an article.
The app Kemikalieappen (Swedish only) is a tool that will make it easier for you to get information about especially hazardous substances in articles. It is an app that you download to your phone that makes it easy to scan an article and ask a question. The app only provides information about especially hazardous substances; it does not include information about the potential treatment of the article with biocides.
Read more about the app, Kemikalieappen (app available in Swedish only)
Hazardous articles warning system
RAPEX is an information and warning system that EU countries use to inform each other about articles that do not meet the chemical and safety rules that apply within the EU. The rapid alert system has been established to quickly exchange information between 31 European countries and the European Commission on products that may pose a risk to the health and safety of individuals.
If you would like to know more about the information system for dangerous non-food products, please watch the information video below.