PRIO – A tool for Risk Reduction of Chemicals

Supervisory authorities

This is how you, as an environment and health protection inspector, can use the PRIO tool:

  • As a source of knowledge
  • For support before or after an inspection visit
  • In connection with a company visit, to use the PRIO tool as a basis for discussion

PRIO as a source of knowledge

The purpose of PRIO is to be a prioritisation guide in a company's efforts to reduce the risks of chemicals. It helps in assessing the risk picture, and can support the work of substitution. The tool's prioritisation guide leads the person using it to work on the basis of the tool's selection criteria rather than only requiring yes and no answers. It is important to know that you are dealing with substances with environmental and health properties that form the selection criteria for PRIO, and therefore need special attention. Read more in Criteria.

By searching in the database you can obtain information about environmental and health properties of thousands of substances. The PRIO database currently holds over 5,000 chemical substances that are examples of those covered by the PRIO tool's criteria. There are several ways to pick a selection of these substances. In the case of a hit in the examples list, you can find out whether the substance is due to be phased out or is a prioritised risk reduction substance. You can also look for substances by selecting a product type and obtain examples of substances that require special attention. When you search for a substance group, you obtain examples of substances contained in that group and their characteristics. For each substance group there is also a text that describes the substance group in more detail.

PRIO describes the properties of those chemicals that require special attention. The PRIO tool should however not be used as a basis for conditions for obtaining authorisation or as a basis for permits. The fact that a substance is covered by the database criteria and is possibly in the database list of examples must not be used as a signal for prohibition. How the risk is handled must always be taken into account. There are however some substances in the database that have handling restrictions, see more in the Restricted Substances Database.

PRIO can also assist companies to prepare for the European chemical legislation. The selection criteria for substances to be phased out reflect the properties that form the basis for authorisation in the European chemical legislation. This means that industries must apply for permission to be able to use substances with these properties. Companies that apply must be able to show that the risk is adequately controlled, read more in PRIO and Reach.