Statistics in brief - Product types dangerous for the environment

The product types with most products classified as dangerous for the environment 2010
Product typeNumber of productsTonnes of product
Paints 1,611 34,376
Raw materials for rubber 639 10,834
Biocides 580 17,846
Surfactants 394 7,475
Cleaners 371 4,680
Adhesives 336 694
Colouring agents, pigments 307 6,388
Binders 244 7,954
Solvents 234 9,790
Synthesis raw material 231 18,233,147
Raw materials for cosmetics 231 798
Fuels 224 21,298,043
Metal surface treatment agents 220 5,036
Lubricants 218 733
Flooring materials 176 2,101
Hardeners, curing agents 170 817
Electrochemical agents 144 1,772
Fillers 128 420
Plant protection products 127 2,527

Source: Products register, Swedish Chemicals Agency 2010.

In 2010 about 8,600 chemicals were classified as dangerous for the environment. Almost one fifth of these were paints. Biocides are products such as disinfectants and preservatives.
Colouring agents, solvents, surfactants and binders are raw materials used for production of e.g. paints. As some of these raw materials contain substances that are dangerous for the environment, the finished products where they are constituents like paints, adhesives and cleaners, will also be dangerous for the environment. These product groups consist of a great number of products so the share of environmentally dangerous products is not particularly large.

Flooring materials are sometimes classified as dangerous for the environment. This is due to the fact that they contain components that are reactive and hazardous. When the floor is cured in place the components are transformed to other, more stable substances that are not dangerous for the environment. A transformation of the products to more stable substances is also what happens with most of the about 18 million tonnes of synthesis raw material.

Share of environmentally dangerous products for certain product types

Graph - Share of environmentally dangerous products of quantity and number of products for certain product types.

Source: Products register, Swedish Chemicals Agency 2010.

The chart shows that plant protection products, often called pesticides, is the product group that contains the largest proportion of environmentally dangerous products. It should be noted that in spite of this about 60 per cent are not classified as dangerous for the environment; a figure that most likely is due to lack of classification and reporting from the companies involved. The proportion of pesticides that is dangerous for the environment is estimated to be close to 100 per cent.

For biocides, which are also intended to affect organisms, the environmentally dangerous share is about 30 per cent considering the number of products. 15 per cent of the biocide product quantity is classified as dangerous for the environment.

The environmentally dangerous part of the paints is about 15 per cent, probably because of their content of solvents. Almost 70 per cent of the synthesis raw materials are dangerous for the environment. Such raw materials are, as mentioned above, like flooring materials transformed at use to substances with other, mostly harmless, properties.

Among industry products with extensive use in metal and engineering industry, e.g. solvents, electro-chemical and metal surface treatment products, the environmentally dangerous part of the products is between 10 and 20 per cent of all products of these kinds.