Flow analyses


Is turpentine manufactured in Sweden? Which products contain acetic acid? Is nonylphenoletoxylate used in many consumer products? The flow analyses are aimed at addressing questions of this type.

Flow charts and substance information

The flow chart provides an account of the imported, manufactured and exported quantities of a substance/group of substances and their patterns of use. Each chart also contains facts about their methods of production, patterns of use and physical data.

The flow analyses of chemical substances are official statistics, based mainly on data from the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s Products Register.

Description of the statistics - quality declaration

0 Administrative data concerning the product

0.1 Name

Flow analyses of chemical substances – data from the Products Register of the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

0.2 Statistical field


0.3 Competent authority, contact person etc.

Swedish Chemicals Agency, Box 2, SE-172 13 Sundbyberg, phone: +468-519 41 357 e-mail: markus.ifverberg@kemi.se

0.4 – 0.5 Purpose and history

Knowledge as to where chemicals occur and how they are used in society is needed for the framing of goals and strategies of chemicals control and for the selection of methods for tackling health-related and environmental problems to which chemical substances give rise. The product is also intended to provide a basis for following up the measures taken and observing trends in the use of specific substances. There is a growing demand on the part of the general public and the media for data concerning substances or groups of substances which have become the focus of attention due to their being included on priority lists or for another reason. The publication of flow analyses describing the substance as such, together with a quantitative flow chart indicating where it can be found in society, could fulfil a major information requirement of this kind.

0.6 Users and applications

The Swedish Chemicals Agency, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Work Environment Authority, regional and local environmental administrations, researchers, the media and government ministries are all users of chemical data compilations.

0.7 Notifiability

Data in the Products Register comes under Sections 12-15 of the Chemical Products and Biotechnical Organisms Ordinance (2008:245), under the Appendix to this Ordinance, and under the Chemical Products and Biotechnical Organisms Regulations (KIFS 2008:2).

0.8 Rules of secrecy, weeding provisions

The data on which the flow analyses are based is protected under the Secrecy Act. Weeding procedures are governed by rules applying within the national administration.

0.9 EU legislation

No EU Directives apply to reporting in relation to this product.

1 Contents

1.1 Statistical units


All chemical substances listed by statistical number in Ordinance 2008:245 and imported or manufactured (name changes included) in quantities of more than 100 kg annually must be reported to the Swedish Chemicals Agency Products Register. The term “chemical products” includes both chemical substances and preparations thereof. All the chemical products reported are included in the compilation.


Quantity of imported/exported raw material, quantity of imported/exported substance included in chemical products, manufactured and imported quantities of the substance in specified types of product, any synthetic and other raw material use, no. of products where the substance is included, and the quantity of these products available to consumers.


Quantities in tonnes, no. of products.


Accounting is done by substance or group of substances and type of product.

1.2 Comparability with other statistics

No other statistics are produced at this level of detail.

2 Time

2.1 Reference time

The data refers to the entire calendar year in question.

2.2 Production time

The production time depends on the annual update of the Products Register, but is estimated at approximately one year.

2.3 Punctuality

Publication takes place at the turn of the year following the most recent year reported.

2.4 Frequency

The publication appears annually. The data for all chemical substances or groups of substances is not updated annually, however, since updates are confined to substances where changes have occurred in quantities or in patterns of use. Other substances are followed up at two or three-yearly intervals.

2.5 Comparability over time

The data from the Products Register is comparable on a year by year basis. Flow analyses for certain substances are available from 1991 onwards, while he data for most of the substances followed up was first published with reference to their use in 1993.

3 Structure and reliability

3.1 Total reliability

The analyses are based on a total survey, a registry of all chemical products. Incoming reports from companies are subject to errors with regard to all parameters. Incoming data is scrutinised on an ongoing basis, registry is conducted on an active basis and errors are corrected.

3.2 Sources of uncertainty


All chemical products which are imported, manufactured or renamed must be reported to the Register. Coverage is good in terms of the notifiable products actually reported. All the data requested is supplied to the Register, and it is only as regards the particulars of the chemical composition of products that the degree of coverage varies, depending on the product group to which a product belongs.


All reported products have been included in the survey.


Companies importing, manufacturing or renaming chemical products in quantities of more than 100 kg annually are required to report the product to the Products Register.


Since the importation/manufacture of chemical products is associated with a chemicals charge, quantitative data must always be supplied to the Register, otherwise reference is made to the section dealing with coverage.


For every substance or group of substances investigated, all information in the Products Register is processed and scrutinised and turned into a straightforward flow chart giving data on imports, exports, production and use.

The data concerning the chemical properties of a substance, why and how that substance is used, its international production and use and associated trends is compiled in a short description on the basis of each substance or group of substances.



3.3 Presentation of indicators of uncertainty


4 Availability

4.1 Publication and distribution (incl. electronic media and databases)

The flow analyses are published on the Swedish Chemicals Agency website, www.kemikalieinspektionen.se External link., under the heading Statistics for Chemicals. Previous annual editions of the flow analyses may be ordered until further notice in the form of Annual Reports from the Swedish Chemicals Agency, tel. +46-(+)8-519 41 100, e-mail kemi@kemi.se at a cost of about SEK 350 each.

4.2 Primary material/Micro data: storage and access

The primary material is stored in the Products Register of the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

4.3 Presentation

The information on each substance or group of substances when first published is presented with a passage describing the substance and a simple flow chart showing the flow of the substance in Sweden in previous years. Updated substances are presented with flow charts only.

4.4 Documentation

Occurrence and use of chemical substances in society (in Swedish), Report 4/93 from the Swedish Chemicals Agency. The Products Register of the Swedish Chemicals Agency brochure.

About the figures

The substance amounts in the flow charts are presented as accurately as possible, sometimes with greater precision than that considered reasonable, bearing in mind the errors skewing in the figures. They are rounded to the nearest whole figure; however, in the case of too low quantities (0.01-0.99) deviations have been made from the conventional rounding rules. In those cases the figures have been rounded to

The substance amounts followed by a ± sign indicate that the substance has been reported in connection with one or more products to the Products Register in the form of concentration intervals. The decision has therefore been to present the substance amount as a mean value along with the mean deviation in order to describe the size of the interval. If no mean deviation is given, either there is no interval to describe or else the size of the interval is marginal in relation to the rounding rules applied.

Where the amount has been preceded by 'approx', an estimate has been made of the distribution of the amount among several different items. This distribution is estimated with the aim of avoiding double counting, which is especially topical under the heading of Other Use of Raw Materials.

The number of significant figures is dependent on several factors. These vary between different product groups and different substances. The size of the errors skewing the figures can for the most part relate to errors stemming from:

  1. Rounding in accordance with the rules on reporting to the Products Register.
  2. The fact that the substance is not covered by the duty to report, such as when there are only low concentrations in a product.
  3. Incorrect reporting/registering.

Assuming that the rule on reporting to the Products Register has been observed to the utmost degree, an error may be related to rounding at the time of reporting.

The absolute error for the substance amount (concentration x product quantity / 100) for a product increases with increased product quantity, yet remains constant in relation to greater levels of concentration; for instance, the absolute error increases by approx ±500 ton for every 100,000 tons of raw material reported. The relative error, however, increases in relation to reduced levels of concentration and is constant in relation to the increased quantities of a product. The greatest variation of all is in the relative error for product groups where a substance is found in low concentrations (1-5 weight percent): a maximum of ±50% of the substance amount.

Errors arising from the fact that substances occurring in low concentrations are not covered by the duty to report are harder to estimate. The product groups referred to here are those containing substances which do not assist classification of the product or have not been listed in the Annex on the rules governing reporting to the Products Register. This type of error applies especially to substances which are hazardous to the environment but not to health, since criteria is still lacking for classifying composite chemical products as environmentally hazardous.


Explanation of terms



Available to customers

A product intended for private use.

Raw material

This refers to products where the substance occurs in as pure a form as possible.

Synthetic raw material

This means that the substance undergoes a chemical transformation to form new substances.

Further information

The box showing the occurrence of different types of chemical products combine a number of different product groups, usually 3-10. The data on these, their quantity or function, may not be shown on an individual basis for reasons of secrecy or space.

Explanations of the symbols



Two full stops (..)

"Information not available". The information is available but cannot be provided, possibly for reasons of secrecy. Each marking that consists of two full stops refers either to a type of product or a type of use.

Dash (–)

"No information reported". There is no information on, say, export or manufacture, according to the sources.


Less than.


More than.

The supporting material for exported quantities contain ambiguities so that only a minimum value can be given. This applies in cases where a company has stated that a product containing the substance is being exported but without stating the percentage. All substances are converted into a 100 percent pure form in quantities taken from the Products Register. It has not been possible to show details of the concentration of a substance in the amounts recorded in Statistics Sweden's statistics; we must assume that it is 100 percent if no other figure has been recorded.


The main source of our data set has been the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s Products Register. This is where all chemical products which have been imported, manufactured, or sold in their own name in amounts of over 100 kg are reported. The information required includes the product's function, the industry in which it is used, and certain data regarding its chemical composition.

All substances rendering a product a health hazard must be reported, as must all other substances which are present in concentrations of over 5 percent. Certain substances which are an environmental hazard, allergens, carcinogens or reprotoxic substances and preservatives must always be reported. These rules mean that it can be difficult to find substances listed in the Products Register that are not regarded as a health hazard when found in concentrations of less than 5 percent, since these therefore don't need to be reported. If there has been a restriction on the analyses we have carried out, this is pointed out in the description of the substance.

The figures in the Products Register relating to manufacture and import have been compared to the details provided by Statistics Sweden (SCB) External link. which cover production under "Industrial Statistics" and those which cover imports under "Foreign Trade Statistics". The amount of a single substance in mixed chemical products can only be quantified with the help of the Products Register where they have a "higher solution" - every substance that is found in every quantity of a product.

Manufacture can denote both the synthesis of the actual substance and the mix of different substances to form a chemical product. Only the amount of a synthesised substance which is intended for further sale need be reported to the Products Register, not that which is used in the company's own factory. The amount manufactured and stated here corresponds, therefore, to the amount recorded in Statistics Sweden's industrial statistics as intended for sale When looking at patterns of occurrence, we have often decided to state this amount as provided by Statistics Sweden since the few chemicals which are synthesised in Sweden usually come from only one company, and the amount may not be published for reasons of secrecy..

As regards the import of pure substances, we have in the past published data from both the Products Register and Statistics Sweden for the sake of comparison. Since the statistics provided by Statistics Sweden have changed drastically since our entry into the EU, we no longer consider such a comparison to be meaningful.

The export figures taken from the Products Register have been improving since the 1995 statistics. Since then, the product amount exported has been reported as a percentage, which has resulted in more reliable statistics for both raw materials and composite chemical products.

As regards the substances found in active components in pesticides, the amounts sold are compiled each year by Statistics Sweden on behalf of the Swedish Chemicals Agency. We have stated this amount in the patterns of occurrence where such cases have arisen.

The use of a chemical can vary widely between different countries. We have tried to illustrate this in the section on analysis by describing its use in both Sweden and elsewhere. The data on the amounts of a particular chemical which have been manufactured and used in economic entities other than our own country has proven to be very hard to find, which unfortunately makes comparison difficult.

Last published 15 May 2020