Enforcement of chemicals legislation
Enforcement of chemicals legislation takes place at various levels and is carried out by different authorities in Sweden. There is also collaboration between the EU member states and the Nordic countries on different projects.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency is responsible for
- Enforcement of legislation on chemical products (including pesticides) provided by first-tier suppliers with the focus on products placed on the market. This applies, for example, to classification, labelling, safety data sheets, restrictions, approved pesticides, registration with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
- Product reports (notifications) to the Swedish Chemical Agency’s Products Register.
- Enforcement of legislation on articles for placing on the market, such as toys, home electronics, clothing and fashion jewellery.
Municipalities and county administrative boards are responsible for
- Supervising the way chemicals are handled for work purposes by professional users, for example, or in operations that are hazardous to the environment.
- Checking chemical products, pesticides and articles for placing on the retail market.
- Checking the handling of chemicals by those who are not manufacturers and importers into Sweden, and checking that restrictions are applied in accordance with Annex XVII to the REACH Regulation; for example, checking that the use of permits and the conditions thereto are in accordance with REACH, and that companies comply with instructions on managing the risks described in supplier safety data sheets and exposure scenarios.
- Checking product reports that have been submitted to the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s Products Register by companies manufacturing or importing chemicals to Sweden solely for their own use.
There are several other authorities besides the Swedish Chemicals Agency which are responsible for aspects of the enforcement of legislation on chemicals, such as the Swedish Work Environment Authority concerning workplace issues, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency concerning the natural environment, and the Swedish Board of Agriculture concerning agricultural issues.
In Sweden, the overarching issues concerning chemicals are brought together under the Swedish Chemicals Agency. The allocation of responsibility for chemicals may differ in other countries. It may, for example, be shared between authorities responsible for the environment, working environment and agriculture.
The Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement
The Forum’s task is to co-ordinate and develop the enforcement of chemicals legislation under the REACH, CLP and PIC regulations within the EU, including Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The first joint enforcement project was carried out in 2009, and was concerned with checking whether companies that manufactured or imported chemical substances and substances in mixtures had pre-registered and registered their substances. Safety data sheets were also checked.
The second joint enforcement project was carried out in 2011. This project focused on the responsibilities of formulators as set out by REACH and CLP, with particular attention being paid to the quality and management of the downstream users’ own safety data sheets.
The third joint enforcement project was carried out in 2013–2014. It focused on ensuring that the registration of manufacturers, importers and private representatives was in compliance with the REACH provisions.
In 2016 there will be a joint project on the enforcement of restrictions, which will focus mainly on certain particularly hazardous substances in articles.
The Product Safety Forum of Europe (PROSAFE) is a professional organisation for market surveillance authorities and officers from throughout the EEA. Its primary objective is to improve the safety of users of products and services in Europe. Joint market surveillance activities coordinated by PROSAFE are primarily funded by the European Commission.
The Nordic countries
Here in the Nordic countries, we co-operate on inspection projects partly financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Chemicals Group. The inspectors in the Nordic region meet once a year to exchange experiences, report on activities, and decide on new joint inspection projects.