When the Swedish Chemicals Agency presented the first interim report regarding the Action plan for a toxic-free everyday environment a year ago, we identified three particular challenges:
- Hazardous substances in articles are a growing problem.
- Our food and drinking water needs to be protected better.
- Children and young people are particularly sensitive to the effects of chemicals.
– External reports and our own investigations confirm that these challenges remain, says Jan Hammar, Strategic Adviser. In 2014,we will focus on everyday products, in particular those that are common in children's immediate environment.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency has increased the number of inspections and analysed articles in 2013. There are relatively few regulations on hazardous substances in articles. Nevertheless, we find many violations of the rules. Toys and electronics are the type of products in which these violations are most common. Of 550 analysed toys, 15 percent did not meet the rules. The corresponding figure for consumer electronics was 12 percent.
We assigned the Swedish Environmental Management Council to make a report on pre-schools that will form the basis of guidelines for pre-schools when they make environmental demands on products that they need, sleeping equipment and toys, for example.
We have also investigated if economic instruments to a greater extent can be used to protect people and the environment. The Swedish government has appointed a committee to further analyse the possibility of introducing a tax on hazardous substances in certain product groups.
We have specifically prioritised work with EU legislation. Sweden is one of the member countries that provide most proposals for action against hazardous chemicals. The proposals relate mainly to chemicals found in consumer products where children may be exposed.
Over the past year, it has been discovered that drinking water in some Swedish municipalities is contaminated with highly fluorinated substances. We have in cooperation with the Swedish National Food Agency produced a guide to assist municipalities to investigate how widespread the contamination is .
– We are concerned about this and in 2014 will we identify if there are still sources of pollution. We also plan to develop proposals for measures to increase the protection of our groundwater from these substances, says Jan Hammar.
About this report
Report 1/14 reports what The Swedish Chemicals Agency has done in the framework of the action plan for a toxic-free everyday environment in 2011-2013. It contains a list of all our publications published in connection with the action plan. Our previous interim report was published a year ago and contains information about the work during 2011-2012. In June 2014, we will describe how the action plan can be developed for 2015 - 2020.
Report 1/14 – Action plan for a non-toxic environment, interim report.
English summary on page 8