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PRIO – A tool for Risk Reduction of Chemicals

Help in setting priorities

PRIO is a tool created to help reducing risks posed to health and the environment. Among other things, this tool can help you identifying chemical substances that under the new EU legislation, will successively become subject to an authorisation procedure.

The juridical basis of PRIO can be found in the second chapter of the Swedish Environmental Code that stresses the requirement of knowledge, the implementation of protective measures and the principle of substitution in activities or measures, in order to protect human health and the environment against damage or detriment.

PRIO tool applies to chemical substances of high concern according to their effects on health or on the environment. In PRIO, these high priority substances are divided into two levels of prioritisation: phase-out substances and priority risk-reduction substances. The prioritization level or group a substance belongs to depends on the hazardous properties of the substance. Observe however that these concepts do not comprise any legal binding.

The first group is termed phase-out substances. The substances in this group have properties of such concern that they should not be used. The criteria for the selection of this group has its origin in the Swedish national environmental quality objective A Non-Toxic Environment. They largely reflect also the criteria for substances that may require authorisation within the Reach Regulation.

Priority risk-reduction substances have properties that deserve special attention. The selection criteria for this group has been established by the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

Various measures may be relevant, depending on the group to which the substance concerned belongs. The phase-out substances are considered to have properties such that, regardless of how they are used, they should not occur. With regard to priority risk-reduction substances, these must always be assessed in the relevant use and on the basis of the risk that may then occur. Also bear in mind that users of chemicals under the Environmental Code are required to have knowledge of all substances used in their operations.