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Statistics in brief - Carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances

Carcinogenic substances (C), mutagenic substances (M) and substances that can harm reproduction (R) are called CMR-substances. Some substances in this group can cause several of these effects.

Substances assigned CMR are jointly decided upon in the EU. In the work to reach a non-toxic environment CMR-substances are given priority. The long-term goal is that they must not be used at all.

Nowadays, use of almost all CMR-substances in consumer-available chemical products is banned in the EU. Professional use of many CMR-substances requires authorisation.

Turn-over of CMR-substances in Sweden

Graph, Turn-over of CMR-substances in Sweden 1996 - 2010.

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agnecy 2010.

CMR-substances are to be found mainly in fuel and as raw material for synthesis. This leads to the bulk of all CMR-substances being combusted or transformed into other substances. About 130,000 tonnes or about 0.5 per cent of all CMR-substances are used for production of articles. Some substances are consumed in the production of the articles or exported to other countries. The remaining CMR-substances, about 16,500 tonnes, are used in Sweden for production of articles and will be contained in the final articles.

Turn-over of CMR-substances intended for production of articles

Graph, Turn-over of CMR-substances intended for production of articles 1996 - 2010.

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agnecy 2010. 

About 16,500 tonnes are used in Sweden for production of articles where they remain. These are found in e.g. plasticised plastic wares, rubber tyres, paints, preserved wood. The substances are probably also included in imported articles of the same kind.

Distribution of the use of CMR-substances for production of articles in Sweden

Graph, Use of CMR-substances for production of articles.

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agnecy 2010. 

In 2010, turn-over of CMR-substances was 27 million tonnes; 16,500 tonnes were included in articles produced in Sweden. Articles containing CMR-substances are used everywhere in society. The largest use is in wood preservatives and impregnation products containing creosote and chromium which are carcinogenic

Phthalates that are toxic to reproduction are used as plasticisers. Conductive materials are used in metal production and paint containing lead compounds is toxic to reproduction. 

Quantity of CMR-substances in different sectors
Sector use of CMR-substances in tonnesTonnes
Coke and petroleum industry 20,572,675
Export 4,329,236
Industry for basic metals 777,497
Electricity, gas and water works 756,032
Transport, storage and communication companies 641,144
Organic base industry 186,366

Other chemical industries

29,094
Wholesale and retail industry 15,932
Food, textile, leather, wood industry 5,265
Metal shops and other manufacturers 766
Other service activities 548
Glass and ceramic industry 219
Mines and quarries 112
Construction industry, real estate 84
Service, pulp/paper/graphic; inorg. base chemicals 28

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agnecy 2010.

Large quantities of CMR-substances consist of crude oil that in the refineries is processed to other large products some of which, e.g. petrol, is carcinogenic as well. Other trades are large-scale consumers of fuel which can be seen in the figures of largest trades: communication, metal production and power stations. 

Common CMR-substances in article production

The ten CMR-substances handled in largest quantities.

  • Creosote
  • Coal tar pitch
  • Diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • Strontium chromate
  • Extract of heavy paraffinic petroleum destillates
  • Chromium oxide
  • Lead oxide
  • Trichloroethene (tri)
  • Dinitrotoluene
  • Cadmium oxide

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agnecy 2010.