A retailer in a paint shop.

You should be able to inform your customers about how the products should be handled safely.


If you are a distributor and sell hazardous chemical products, you need to ensure that they are labelled, packaged and stored in the correct way. You must also be able to inform your customers about the content of the products and how they can be handled safely.

The term distributor is a collective concept for middlemen such as wholesalers, dealers and retailers. You are a distributor if you buy a product from a company, either in or outside Sweden, with the aim of selling it to consumers or other companies, and you do so regardless of whether this be a direct sale from a stock, a shop or store, or over the internet. If you buy chemical products or articles from countries outside the EU, you are also regarded as an importer.

The distinction between a product and an article

The following definitions are based on the REACH Regulation and explains the difference between a chemical product and an article. Depending on whether the item in question is a chemical product or an article, different requirements apply according to different regulations.

Chemical product

A chemical product is a chemical substance or a mixture of several chemical substances. Examples of substances are acetone, acetic acid and ethanol. Examples of mixtures are paint, glue and detergent.


An article is defined as an object which is given a special shape, surface or design during production which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition.

You are responsible for your particular activity

In your capacity as manufacturer and importer you need to monitor your particular activity. Consider in advance what it is you are purchasing. Avoid hazardous chemical products and articles which can be replaced by less hazardous ones, or use alternative techniques. This is called the substitution or product choice principle. The tool for substitution, PRIO, is a tool to help you dispense with hazardous substances and products and thus reduce the risks to health and the environment.

Go to PRIO - a tool for substitution

The Swedish Work Environment Authority is responsible for issuing rules on the working environment in workplaces where chemical risks are present.

Read more about chemical risks in the workplace on the Swedish Work Environment Authority website External link.

Activities that are subject to permit and notification obligations according to the Environmental Code require self-monitoring in line with the Operators’ Self Inspection Ordinance (1998:901).

Read more about self inspection on the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency website External link.

Last published 17 June 2020