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The word list contains words, concepts, abbreviations and acronyms occurring in texts on this website or in linked documents. In some cases, links are made to more information.


Acceptable daily intake (ADI) External link.

An estimate of the amount of a substance in food or drinking water that can be consumed daily over a lifetime without presenting an appreciable risk to health. It is usually expressed as milligrams of the substance per kilogram of body weight per day and applies to chemical substances such as food additives, pesticide residues and veterinary drugs.

Accounting report

An excerpt from the Swedish Chemical Agency’s Products Register containing data about the substances a company has reported.


Means all companies which in some way are part of the supply chain making products. Examples of these companies are manufacturers, importers downstream users in a supply chain.

Active substance for pesticides External link.

A substance that acts against harmful organisms, such as pests or diseases, which affect plants.

Acute exposure External link.

A one-off or very short term exposure to a substance, usually less than 24 hours.

Adequate intake External link.

A dietary recommendation used when there isn't enough data to calculate an average requirement. An adequate intake is the average nutrient level consumed daily by a typical healthy population that is assumed to be adequate for the population's needs.

ADME External link.

An abbreviation for "absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion", the four key processes which describe how drugs and chemicals get into the body, what happens to them while they are there, and how they are eliminated.

Adverse effect External link.

A change in the health, growth, behaviour or development of an organism that impairs its ability to develop or survive.

Adverse outcome pathway External link.

A method of visualising a chain of events linked by causality that may lead to a harmful outcome for organisms or the environment.


A substance capable of stimulating hypersensitivity reaction.


A metallic material, homogenous in macroscopic scale, consisting of one or several elements combined in such a way that they cannot be separated in a mechanical way.

Alternative method External link.

A method which can be used in research to replace traditional animal testing with non-invasive methods or substitution. See also replacement, reduction and refinement (3Rs).

Amino acid External link.

The constituent block that makes up proteins. Some can be produced by the human body whereas others can be obtained only through the diet.

Antagonistic External link.

Describes a substance that acts in opposition to another substance, thus cancelling out its effect; for example, a hormone that, when released in the body, prevents another hormone from working.

Antifouling products

Products used to control the growth and settlement of fouling organisms (microbes and higher forms of plant or animal species) on vessels, aquaculture equipment or other structures used in water.

Antimicrobial resistance External link.

The ability of microbes to grow in the presence of substances specifically designed to kill them; for example, some human infections are now resistant to antibiotics, raising concerns about their widespread use.


Accelerated Risk Management.


Commodity, for example a chair or textiles containing or treated with a chemical product.

Means an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition. (The REACH Regulation)

Assessment factor External link.

Pertaining to a substance, it is a factor used by risk assessors to derive a reference dose that is considered safe or below which an adverse effect is unlikely to occur. The value of the safety factor depends on the toxic effect, the size and type of the population to be protected and the quality of the (eco)toxicological and exposure data available.


Background level

1.The concentration of a substance in an environmental media (air, water, or soil) that occurs naturally or is not the result of human activities. 2. In exposure assessment the concentration of a substance in a defined control area, during a fixed period of time before, during, or after a data-gathering operation. (ecology.dictionary.org)



Benchmark dose External link.

The minimum dose of a substance that produces a clear, low level health risk, usually in the range of a 1-10% change in a specific toxic effect such as cancer induction.

Bioaccumulating substances

Substances that accumulate in tissue.

Bioavailability External link.

A term to describe how much of a substance gets into the blood through a variety of routes, including the diet. It may refer to vitamins, additives, pesticides or medicines.


Biocide is latin and means destroying living organisms.

Biocidal Products Regulation

The making available on the market and use of biocidal products is regulated in the EU Biocidal Products Regulation, and during a transitional period also in Swedish legislation. The aim of the Biocidal Products Regulation is to harmonise the rules on the supply and use of biocidal products and at the same time ensure a high level of protection for human health, animals and the environment.

Biodiversity External link.

A term used to describe the variety of living organisms existing in a specific environment.

Biological pesticide

A biological pesticide shall mean a biotechnical organism that is produced specifically to prevent or deter animals, plants or microorganisms, including viruses, from causing damage or detriment to human health or damage to property. (Chapter 14, Section 6, the Environmental Code).


Increased concentration of lipophilic environmental toxins in the food chain.


All living organisms.

Biotechnical organism

A biotechnical organism shall mean a product that is produced specifically as a control agent or for any other technical purpose and which, wholly or in part, consists of or contains living microorganisms, including viruses, or nematodes, insects or arachnids. (Chapter 14 kap, Section 3, the Environmental Code).


Type of nature conditions, living environment.



BPA Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A, also 4,4'-dihydroxy-2,2-diphenylpropane and BPA, is one of the world’s most common plastic chemicals. Bisphenol A is an organic compound where two phenol molecules are bound to the same coal in a propane chain.

Brominated flame retardants

Material used to protect against fire in plastic, rubber and textile and which contains the substance bromine.


Carcinogenicity External link.

Cancer-causing property of a substance when an animal or human is exposed to it.

Candidate list

List containing SVHC-substances in accordance with Article 59 in the REACH Regulation. The substances are candidates to be included in Annex XIV of REACH, which means that authorisation will be required to use them.


CARACAL is an expert group which advises the European Commission and ECHA on questions related to REACH and CLP. It was founded as "European Commission Working Group on the Practical Preparations for REACH" in May 2004.

CAS number

Chemical substance identification number, assigned and registered by the Chemical Abstract Services (CAS), Columbus, Ohio.

CE marking

Conformité Européenne, labelling symbol. A CE mark on a product means that the manufacturer or importer certifies that it meets EU health, safety and environmental requirements.


European Chemical Industry Council.


Certificate/proof of compliance with certain standards set up for an area by a standardisation body.

Chemical/chemical product

Chemical substance and preparations (mixtures) of chemical substances. Chemical substances may be especially regulated products, i.e. pesticides and other products.

Chemical pesticide

A ‘chemical pesticide’ shall mean a chemical product that is intended to prevent or deter animals, plants or microorganisms, including viruses, from causing damage or detriment to human health or damage to property (Chapter 14, Section 5, the Environmental Code).

Chemical residue External link.

Tiny amounts of chemicals found in foodstuffs which have been exposed to pesticides, environmental toxins or related products.

Chronic exposure External link.

A long-term constant or intermittent exposure to a substance which may have an impact on health over time.

Chlorinated paraffins

Chlorinated hydrocarbons, often used as softeners och flame retardants in plastic. Present in short, medium and long chained variants.


Chemical Legislation European Enforcement Network.


Classification and Labelling Harmonised.


EU Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures.


Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.


Carcinogenic, Mutagenic, toxic to Reproduction; CMR-substances.

Cocktail effect

Combined effect of a mixture of chemicals that may be greater than the effect of each single substance by itself.


Chemical Oxygen Demand (measure of the amount of oxygen used when there is a complete chemical degradation of organic substances in water).


Control of hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea region. (HELCOM)

Comparative assessment External link.

Required in law, an assessment designed to compare the safety of a genetically modified (GM) organism against its non-GM bred counterpart.

Commercial agent

Person or company who acts in the place of a manufacturer or an importer.

Competent authority

Or CA is one or several national authorities appointed by each EU member state to implement the legislation or represent the member country in workgroups and expert groups.

Consent to a commercial agent

The Swedish Chemicals Agency may allow a commercial agent to fulfil the obligation to report import of a chemical product or biotechnical organism to Sweden in the place of the person responsible for the import.

Conservative assumption External link.

An estimate that tends to err on the side of caution or gives a 'worst case scenario'. Often used in risk assessment to ensure that as much risk as possible is taken into account.

Consolidated version

Compiled version of a regulatory text which include all amendments in their respective place in the basic piece of legislation.

Contained use

Shall mean an activity in which organisms are genetically modified, cultured, stored, used, transported, destroyed, disposed of or used in any other way, and for which specific containment measures are used to limit their contact with the general population and the environment. (Chapter 13, Section 5, the Environmental Code). Can also apply to chemicals at synthesis, for instance.

Contaminant External link.

Any substance occurring in foodstuffs that was not added intentionally. Contaminants can arise from packaging, food processing and transportation, farming practices or the use of animal medicines. The term does not include contamination from insects or rodents.

Copenhagen Chemicals Charter

Document raising expectations facing the overhaul of the EU chemicals policy; signed by 100 organisations in 2000.

Co-resistance External link.

Genetically-conferred resistance in an organism (e.g. the resistance of a plant to a disease) that results from two or more linked genes being passed down the generations.

Critical effect External link.

The adverse effect seen at the lowest dose when a vulnerable population is exposed to a substance such as an environmental or food toxin. This can relate to humans as well as to other species such as animals, plants or microbes.

Cross contamination External link.

The process by which microbes are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect.

Cumulative assessment group External link.

Chemicals that are considered as a group because they are likely to act on the body in the same way.

Cumulative effect External link.

A term used to describe how exposure to more than one chemical might affect the body. Used to explain long-term exposure to mixtures of chemicals, such as pesticides or additives.

Cumulative risk assessment External link.

A method of assessing risks to health or the environment posed by multiple substances such as chemicals.

Customs tariff

Combined nomenclature of the European Union. It allows compiling, exchanging and publishing statistical data about EU trade with countries outside the EU. The tariff is also used to compile and distribute data on trade between the EU member states. (Council Regulation (EEC) No2658/87).







4,4'Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene; degradation product of DDT, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroetan.



Deficiency External link.

A lack of a necessary factor in, for example, the diet or the environment which results in harm to the growth of an organism.



Degradation product External link.

Chemical that is formed when a substance breaks down or decomposes.

Degradation rate External link.

A way of describing how quickly a substance (e.g. pollution in a river) will break down and be eliminated from an environment.



Deliberate release

‘Deliberate release’ shall mean any intentional introduction of genetically modified organisms into the environment without containment. (Chapter 13, Section 6, the Swedish Environmental Code).


Chemical compound that can be derived from or produced from another chemical compound.


Washing and cleaning product.

Developmental readiness External link.

The maturation of bodily functions necessary to metabolise ‘non-milk foods’, i.e. other than breast-milk or formula, and the neurodevelopmental changes necessary for safe and effective progression from suckling to spoon- and self-feeding, including the infant’s apparent emerging interest in non-milk foods and feeding.

Developmental toxicity External link.

Any adverse effect on the development of the unborn, babies, infants or children when exposed to a toxic substance.


Di(branched and straight C7-C11) alkylphthtalates.





Dietary exposure External link.

For the purposes of risk assessment, measurement of the amount of a substance consumed by a person or animal in their diet that is intentionally added or unintentionally present (e.g. a nutrient, additive or pesticide).

Diffuse spread

Cumulative exposure of a chemical substance in an area where the release sources are of an indefinable character, for example by being many, small, variable, etcetera.


Di(branched C6-C8) alkylphthalates.

Dioxin External link.

Persistent, chlorine-containing organic pollutant which occurs as by-product of industrial processes. It can accumulate in the food chain and pose a serious public and environmental health risk.




Means any natural or legal person established within the Community, including a retailer, who only stores and places on the market a substance, on its own or in a mixture, for third parties. (The REACH Regulation)


Derived no effect level; a limit value.

Dose External link.

The total amount of a substance (e.g. a chemical or nutrient) given to, consumed or absorbed by an individual organism, population or ecosystem.

Dose addition External link.

A process to establish the response of organisms to a mixture of chemicals with similar toxicity. This involves adding up their individual effects to predict the likely impact of the overall mixture.

Dose response External link.

The relationship between the amount of a substance to which an individual organism, population or ecosystem is exposed and the way in which it responds (e.g. in terms of toxicity).

Downstream user

Means any natural or legal person established within the Community, other than the manufacturer or the importer, who uses a substance, either on its own or in a mixture, in the course of his industrial or professional activities. A distributor or a consumer is not a downstream user. A re-importer exempted pursuant to Article 2(7)(c) shall be regarded as a downstream user. (REACH)



European Communities/European market, European Union.


European Chemicals Agency.

EC number

Seven-digit identification number for chemical substances on the EU market. Substances that were on the market before 18 September are not counted as existing substances and start with 200 or 300.

Substances notified/reported after 18 September 1981 are included in the list of new substances (ELINCS) and start with 400. The number series that starts with 500 includes ‘No longer polymers’ (NLP), i.e. substances which at the first listing were considered polymers and thus not required to be listed in EINECS.

Ecosystem External link.

A community of living organisms in conjunction with non-living components (e.g. air, water and mineral soil). A healthy ecosystem is a finely balanced system where animals, plants and microbes live in harmony with their environment.

Ecotoxicology External link.

The study of the adverse impacts of substances, particularly chemicals, in relation to the environment and public health.


European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (to using animals).


Endocrine-disrupting chemical/compound/Endocrine-disrupting substance.


European Environment Agency (Copenhagen).


European Environmental Bureau. Cooperation body of non-governmental organisations.


European Economic Sphere (EES countries are Island, Liechtenstein and Norway, and the EU member states).


European Food Safety Authority.

Emerging risk External link.

A risk to human, animal or plant health resulting from a new source or increased susceptibility or exposure to an existing source.

Endocrine active substance External link.

Chemical that can interact with the body's endocrine (hormone) system.

Endocrine disruptor External link.

A substance that adversely affects the endocrine (hormone) system leading to negative effects for organisms and/or their offspring (see also "Hormone disruptive substances").

Endogenous substances External link.

Describes substances which naturally occur within the body; for example, cholesterol.

Enforcement guidance

Enforcement guidance includes assessment, follow-up and coordination of the operative enforcement, and support and advice to municipalities.

Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) External link.

The process of assessing potential harm to the environment caused by a substance, activity or natural occurrence. This may include the introduction of GM plants, the use of pesticides, or the spread of plant pests.

Environmental toxicity External link.

The negative impact of a substance or activity (e.g. chemicals, GM crop introduction) on a population of animals, plants or microbes in the environment (e.g. water, soil).


Specific type of protein with a catalytic function. Enzymes are part of the chemical processes of the human body without being absorbed themselves.


Substance formed by acid and alcohol.



EU regulatory framework External link.

The name given to policies and laws in Europe which collectively protect the consumer.


European Lex. The EU database portal for publishing EU law, particularly legislation and law practice, and the decision processes between the Commission and the institutions.



Existing substance

Substance that was used within the EU before 1 September 1981 and listed in EINECS.

Exogenous substance External link.

Describes substances within the human body which have arisen from an external source in the diet or environment; for example, veterinary medicine residues.


Extent to which human beings and the environment are in contact with/exposed to hazardous substances.

Exposure assessment External link.

One of the key steps in risk assessment, this relates to a thorough evaluation of who, or what, has been exposed to a hazard and a quantification of the amounts involved.

Exposure scenario

Means the set of conditions, including operational conditions and risk management measures, that describe how the substance is manufactured or used during its life-cycle and how the manufacturer or importer controls, or recommends downstream users to control, exposures of humans and the environment. These exposure scenarios may cover one specific process or use or several processes or uses as appropriate. (REACH)



Food and Agriculture Organization External link..

First-tier supplier

A manufacturer or a party who enters a product into Sweden with the intention to place it on the market.

Flame retardants

See brominated flame retardants.

Full study report

Means a complete and comprehensive description of the activity performed to generate the information. This covers the complete scientific paper as published in the literature describing the study performed or the full report prepared by the test house describing the study performed. (The REACH Regulation)


Pesticide to combat fungus.



Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling.

Generic name

A company may apply to use a descriptive name (generic name) of a component in a product and put that name on the label or a safety data sheet instead of an unambiguous chemical name.

Genetically modified organism (GMO)

An organism in which the genetic material is changed in a way that is not naturally occurring by mating or by recombination.

Genetic organism

Biological entity that can breed and transfer genetic material.

Genotoxicity External link.

When a substance is capable of damaging the DNA in cells.

Good laboratory practice (GLP) External link.

A standardised way of planning, performing and reporting laboratory-based studies to ensure a high standard of quality and reliability.


Water in the soil or in rock.


Half-life External link.

The time required for 50% of a substance present in an individual, population or ecosystem to break down or be eliminated naturally. It is often used to describe the disappearance of potentially harmful substances such as chemical toxins.


Have been used in fire extinguishers; trade name for brominated halogenated chlorofluoro carbons (HCFCs).


The ‘handling’ of chemical products or biotechnical organisms shall mean any activity or measure involving manufacture, processing, treatment, packaging, storage, transport, use, disposal, destruction, processing, sale, transfer and similar procedures. (Chapter 14, Section 4, the Environmental Code).


An inherent property in a substance that may cause unwanted effects.

Hazard assessment

Identification of hazard and determines the correlation between dose and respons for observed, harmful effects.

Hazard identification

Identification of the harmful effects of a substance due to its inherent properties.






Helsinki Commission.


Pesticide to combat weed.


Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexen carboxaldehyde.

Highly fluorinated substances

Highly fluorinated substances include both per och poly fluorinated substances.

Hormone disrupting substances

Substances affecting the hormonal systems and which may cause damage to organisms, populations or ecosystems.

Host plant External link.

A plant on which a pest lives or by which it is nourished.

Human biomonitoring External link.

A direct measurement of the level of toxic chemical compounds present in the body. Often, these measurements are made using blood and urine.



International Council of Chemical Associations.


International Conference on Chemicals Management. SAICM’s international conference on chemicals management.

Identified use

Means a use of a substance on its own or in a mixture, or a use of a mixture that is intended by an actor in the supply chain, including his own use, or that is made known to him in writing by an immediate downstream user. (REACH)


Innovation and chemical industries in Sweden.

Immunotoxicity External link.

Any adverse effect on the immune system (e.g. allergy or inflammation) that results from exposure to toxic substances.


Used in the Swedish Environmental Code, rules and regulations with the meaning to transfer an article to Sweden from another country outside the EU, so-called third country. This is based on how the Swedish Customs and the tax authorities define import. The Swedish versions of the EU legislation use import and export also for trade between the EU member states.

Import: Means the physical introduction into the customs territory of the Community;
Importer: means any natural or legal person established within the Community who is responsible for import (The REACH Regulation).

Industry chemical

Chemical product used industrially, i.e. as a raw material or a commodity chemical. The commodity chemical may be repackaged in smaller packagings to become a consumer product, for example acetone in a nail polish remover.

Inorganic compound External link.

Chemical that does not generally contain carbon; for example, water, oxygen, sodium chloride.


Pesticide to combat insects.

In silico External link.

Research theoretical method, particularly involving computer models, to predict the likely toxicological, or other, effects of substances.

Intake External link.

The amount of a substance (e.g. nutrient or chemical) that is ingested by a person or animal via the diet.


Means a substance that is manufactured for and consumed in or used for chemical processing in order to be transformed into another substance. (The REACH Regulation)

International Training Programme (ITP)

Since 2007, the Swedish Chemicals Agency has had courses in chemicals control, which are primarily aimed at government employees from other countries who establish or develop their own chemicals control.

Intolerance External link.

A reaction to a substance that is not caused by an immune response. Intolerances are more common than allergies but are less serious.

Invasive species External link.

Animal, plant or other organism introduced by man into places out of its natural range of distribution.

In vitro

Studies on different systems with isolated organs and cell systems.

In vivo External link.

Research method which involves testing individual live animals or populations of live animals.


International Organization for Standardization.

Isolate External link.

A single substance or culture of microbes obtained in pure form from a mixture of substances or bacteria.




Short for the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s code of statutes, regulations.


Labelling obligation

Requirements made in Regulation (EU) No 1272/2008 relating to the release of chemical products on the market. The obligation means that chemical products shall be classified and labelled with regard to the danger to health and the environment.

Legal definition

Concept defined in a legal text.

Limit of detection (LOD) External link.

The lowest concentration of a substance that can be detected using standard tests but which is too small to be measured with certainty.

Limit of quantification (LOQ) External link.

The lowest concentration of a substance that can be measured with certainty using standard tests.

Lipid External link.

Fat and fat-like substance.

LOAEL External link.

The lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) is the lowest level of a substance that has been observed to cause harm in an exposed population.

Low dose effect External link.

Effect which occurs at low doses of a substance, i.e. below those doses traditionally used for toxicological studies.

Lower bound estimate External link.

An estimate of the minimum exposure to a potentially harmful substance, normally zero, which takes into account normal consumption of food which contains negligible amounts of the substance.

Lowest observed adverse effect level External link.

The lowest level of a substance that has been observed to cause harm in an exposed population.

Low risk biocidal product

Biocidal product which does not contain any other active substances than those listed in Annex IA to the Biocidal Directive and which does not contain any potentially harmful substance (definition according to Section 2 of the Biocidal Products Ordinance (2000:338). A potentially harmful substance is a substance that is not an active substance but which might nevertheless have negative effects on human beings, animals or the environment.

Low-risk active substance (according to the EU Regulation on plant protection products)

Low-risk active substances are substances that will only pose a low risk to human and animal health as well as the environment. Which substances that are classified as low-risk active substances are decided at EU level.



Means production or extraction of substances in the natural state. (The REACH Regulation)


Means any natural or legal person established within the Community who manufactures a substance within the Community. (The REACH Regulation)

Margin of exposure (MOE) External link.

A tool used in risk assessment to explore safety concerns arising from the presence of a potentially toxic substance in food or animal feed.

Margin of safety External link.

The gap between the actual intake of a substance by a given population and the estimated daily dose over a lifetime that experts consider to be safe.

Maximum residue level for pesticides (MRL)  External link.

The maximum amount of a pesticide residue allowed in foods or animal feeds, expressed as milligrams per kilogram.

Mechanism of action External link.

The process by which a substance produces an effect on a living organism.

Mechanism of toxicity External link.

The specific sequence of events explaining how a substance causes a toxic effect.


Metallic element.

Meta-analysis External link.

A statistical method which enables the results of similar studies to be pooled in order to determine any significant trends.

Metabolism External link.

The total sum of physical and chemical processes that occur within living organisms.

Metabolite External link.

Substance formed as a consequence of metabolism in an organism.

Metabolomics External link.

The study of an organism's metabolic state through the systematic analysis of its metabolites within cells or biological fluids (e.g. blood, urine).


Means a mixture or solution composed of two or more substances. (The REACH Regulation)


Means a substance which is capable of forming covalent bonds with a sequence of additional like or unlike molecules under the conditions of the relevant polymer-forming reaction used for the particular process. (The REACH Regulation)


Biological term, form and structure of a tissue.


Substance that may harm the genes.

Mutation External link.

A permanent, typically negative, change in the genetic material in a cell which, in most cases, can be passed onto any offspring.

Mycotoxin External link.

Toxin produced by certain species of mould which are dangerous to humans and animals.



A nanometre is one millionth millimetre or a billionth metre. The word nano comes from Greek and means dwarf.

Nanomaterial External link.

Natural or manufactured material which contains miniscule single units typically measuring between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter (a human hair is 80,000-100,000 nanometers wide).

Nanoscience External link.

The study of nanomaterials.

No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) External link.

The greatest concentration or amount of a substance at which no detectable adverse effects occur in an exposed population.

Non-monotonic dose-response curve ( External link.NMDRC) External link.

A complex relationship between the dose of a substance and its effect, such that instead of a certain response simply increasing or decreasing with dose, the curve may be for example "U" shaped.

Not chemically modified substance

Means a substance whose chemical structure remains unchanged, even if it has undergone a chemical process or treatment, or a physical mineralogical transformation, for instance to remove impurities. (The REACH Regulation)


The understanding of how toxins affect the brain and the nervous system.

Non-toxic environment

One of Sweden’s 16 national environmental quality objectives.



Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Official statistics of Sweden

Much of the statistical data from the Swedish Chemicals Agency is part of Official Statistics of Sweden, and forms the basis for research, joint planning and public information.

Operative enforcement

Direct enforcement of a party carrying out an activity or a measure.

Oral exposure

Exposure via the mouth; food for example.

Organic compound External link.

Chemical containing carbon; often derived from plants, animals or bacteria.

Organism External link.

A living thing such as humans, animals, plants and microbes (e.g. bacteria, viruses)


Oslo-Paris Convention to protect the marine environment in the North-East Atlantic.

Ozone depleting

Substance that might imply harm to the structure or function of the ozone layer of the stratosphere. Often persistent organic substances which react with the ozone and lower it in such a way that the sun’s UV rays in too high an extent reach the surface of the earth.



Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons; many of which have harmful effects.

Parallell import

Means that an importer in addition to the manufacturer/ distributor of the right holder imports a protected product, for example a branded product, and sells it on the domestic market without permission from the distributor operating there. An important prerequisite is that the article has to have been placed on the market by the right holder or with the right holder’s consent.

Parallell import is permitted on the EU internal market and is also encouraged by the Commission for competitive reasons to level out prices on the different national markets.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers.


Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic. Chemicals with PBT properties are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic.


Polychlorinated biphenyl.


Polychlorinated naphthalene.


Pentachlorophenol was previously used for surface treatment (dipping) and impregnation of wood to protect against rotting and growth of discolouring bruising mushrooms. PCP was banned as an active substance in wood preservatives by the end of the 1970s due to its serious health and environmental properties.


Perchlorethylene is a colorless liquid with a high density. It has a sweet odor, detectable by most people. Due to that it is nonflammable, highly stable and volatile, it is often used in dry cleaning. However, it is also cancerogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction and for the environment.

Perfluorinated substances

Perfluorinated substances are a group of organic substances characterised by the fact that they are fully fluorinated, i.e. they contain a coal link where each hydrogen atom has been replaced by a fluoro atom. The concept highly fluorinated substances is sometimes used as a generic term for per and poly fluorinated substances.

Periodic system

Table of elements established in the 1860s when it was concluded that the chemical and physical properties of the elements varied periodically with the atomic weight.

Permissible level External link.

Maximum level of a substance or other agent to which people can safely be exposed over a specified period of time.

Pest External link.

A living organism (e.g. an insect, rodent, weed, fungus or virus) that is harmful to plants and/or their products (e.g. seeds, fruits)


Chemical products and biotechnical organisms, which require an authorisation. A pesticide can either be a biocidal product or a plant protection product.

A pesticide is defined in the Swedish Environmental Code as a chemical or biological product intended to prevent or deter animals, plants or microorganisms from causing damage or detriment to human health or damage to property. (Chapter 14, Section 5, the Environmental Code).




Poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances. A group of persistent chemical substances.


Perfluorobutylsulphonate. Persistent chemical substance belong to the PFAS group.


Perfluorononanoic acid.


Perfluoroctanoic acid.


Perfluorooctanesulfonate. Persistent chemical substance belong to the PFAS group.

Phase-in substance

A substance that satisfies certain criteria. (The REACH Regulation)


Ester of phthalic acid, often used as a softener in plastic.


Prior Informed Consent. The Rotterdam Convention (1998) means that export of hazardous pesticides and chemicals is not permitted unless the receiving country accept the import.

Placing on the market

Making a product available to someone else.

The REACH Regulation: supplying or making available, whether in return for payment or free of charge, to a third party. Import shall be deemed to be placing on the market.

The Biocidal Products Regulation: the first making available on the market of a biocidal product or of a treated article.

The Plant Protection Product Regulation: the holding for the purpose of sale within the Community, including offering for sale or any other form of transfer, whether free of charge or not, and the sale, distribution, and other forms of transfer themselves, but not the return to the previous seller. Release for free circulation into the territory of the Community shall constitute placing on the market for the purposes of this Regulation.

Plant protection products

Plant protection products are primarily used to protect plants and plant products within agriculture, agriculture and horticulture. Their task is for example to protect plant and parts of plants against attacks of vermin, fungi or competitive plants.

Plant Protection Product Regulation

The purpose of the EU Plant Protection Product Regulation is to ensure a high level of protection of both human and animal health and the environment and at the same time to improve the functioning of the internal market through the harmonisation of the rules on the placing on the market of plant protection products, while improving agricultural production.

Point of departure External link.

The point on a dose–response curve established from experimental data used to derive a safe level.

Polyfluorinated substances

Polyfluorinated substances are as much perfluorinated substances, but they are not fully fluorinated. Polyflourinated substances still have hydrogen atoms in the coal chain and are not as stable as perfluorinated substances but can be degraded. Examples of polyfluorinated substances are fluorotelomers and fluoropolymers. These may contain residues of perfluorinated substances and may degrade to perfluorinated substances in the environment. Polyfluorinated substances are often used instead of perfluorinated substances in many applications today.

The concept highly fluorinated substances is sometimes used as a generic term for per and poly fluorinated substances.


Means a substance consisting of molecules characterised by the sequence of one or more types of monomer units. Such molecules must be distributed over a range of molecular weights wherein differences in the molecular weight are primarily attributable to differences in the number of monomer units. A polymer comprises the following:
(a) a simple weight majority of molecules containing at least three monomer units which are covalently bound to at least one other monomer unit or other reactant;
(b) less than a simple weight majority of molecules of the same molecular weight.
In the context of this definition a ‘monomer unit’ means the reacted form of a monomer substance in a polymer. (REACH)


Persistent Organic Pollutant.

POPs Convention

Also the Stockholm Convention, signed 2001 for the protection of persistent organic pollutants.

Population threshold External link.

A level set within a population to indicate when a significant change in risk occurs; for example, the point at which a certain number of people has been exposed to a chemical.

Potency External link.

A measure of the capacity of a chemical substance to exert an effect, described in terms of the relationship between the dose used and the magnitude of the resulting effect.

Potential harmful substance

A substance that is not an active substance but with a property to have a negative effect on human beings, animals or the environment.



PPP principle

Polluter pays principle. Adopted by the OECD and means that the environmental costs of travelling by car, for example, are paid by the motorists through road or carbon dioxide taxes.


Predecessor, name for a substance that in another process forms another chemical substance.


From the Preparations Directive1999/45/EEC, deliberate preparation or solvent consisting of two or several chemicals (chemical substances).


Short for the Priority Guide, name of a web application run by the Swedish Chemicals Agency.


1) A professional manufacturer, importer or vendor of a product or packaging.

2) A person whose professional activities generate waste which requires special measures with respect to waste disposal or the environment. (Chapter 15, Section 4, the Environmental Code)

3) Producer of an article means any natural or legal person who makes or assembles an article within the Community. (The REACH Regulation)

Product and process orientated research and development

Means any scientific development related to product development or the further development of a substance, on its own, in mixtures or in articles in the course of which pilot plant or production trials are used to develop the production process and/or to test the fields of application of the substance. (The REACH Regulation)

Product choice principle, substitution principle

The product choice principle is defined in Chapter 2, Section 6 of the Environmental Code. The principle is also called the product choice principle. Persons who pursue an activity or take a measure, or intend to do so, shall avoid using or selling chemical products or biotechnical organisms that may involve risks to human health or the environment if products or organisms that are assumed to be less dangerous can be used instead. The same requirement shall
apply to articles that contain or are treated with a chemical product or a biotechnical organism. The Environmental Code applies to everyone. A consumer is, thus, responsible to find less dangerous alternatives, also non chemical.


Polyvinyl chloride.



Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship. Models used to predict the properties of chemicals based on their molecular structures.



Risk Assessment Committee (EU).

REACH Regulation

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006. Introduced with the EU white paper on the EU strategy for a future chemicals policy.

Recipient of an article

Means an industrial or professional user, or a distributor, being supplied with an article but does not include consumers. (The REACH Regulation)

Recipient of a substance or a mixture

Means a downstream user or a distributor being supplied with a substance or a mixture. (The REACH Regulation)


Means the manufacturer or the importer of a substance or the producer or importer of an article submitting a registration for a substance. (The REACH Regulation)

Replacement, reduction and refinement (3Rs) External link.

An internationally accepted approach to reduce the use of animals in research by, wherever possible, requiring studies to use alternative models and/or making refinements to the methods to minimise any distress when animals are used.

Reproductive disturbing/toxic to reproduction

Substance that harm the reproductive capacity.

Reference value

Recommended value, for example a short-term limit value or a level limit value.


Means any condition for or prohibition of the manufacture, use or placing on the market.

Reversed burden of proof

Means that a scientifically based suspicion of the harmful effect of a substance shall be considered until the opposite has been proved.


The combination of hazard and the probability for it to occur; combination hazard - exposure.

Risk assessment

Process in four steps by which the relationship between the predicted exposure of the harmful effects of a substance is determined: hazard identification, assessment of dose-response relationship, assessment of exposure and risk characterisation. Targeted risk assessment is less comprehensive and a more specific and focused assessment than a complete risk assessment.

risk-benefit analysis External link.

A method for weighing up the likely risks (in terms of the incidence and severity) associated with exposure to a substance versus the likely benefits.

Risk characterisation

Estimation of how extensive and serious such harmful effects are that may be assumed to arise in a population of people or a part of the environment as a result of an actual or predicted exposure to a substance.

risk management External link.

The management of risks which have been identified by risk assessment. It includes the planning, implementation and evaluation of any resulting actions taken to protect consumers, animals and the environment.

risk ranking External link.

A method for prioritising risks according to their likelihood and severity.

Robust study summary

Means a detailed summary of the objectives, methods, results and conclusions of a full study report providing sufficient information to make an independent assessment of the study minimising the need to consult the full study report. (The REACH Regulation)


Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

Rotterdam Convention

Signed in1998, meaning that export of hazardous pesticides and chemicals is not permitted unless the receiving country accepts the import.


Safety Data Sheet, SDS

MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet. Information (16 points) to be given for products that are hazardous to health and the environment.


Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. The global strategy from 2006 is an agreement aiming to follow and push for measures needed to reaching the target that until 2020 at the latest, chemicals are produced and used in such a way that harmful effects on human health and the environment are as limited as possible. (UNEP Governing Council Decision SS.VII/3)

Sampling plan External link.

A systematic way of planning the number and type of samples required for an investigation.

Scientific opinion External link.

Opinions include risk assessments on general scientific issues, evaluations of an application for the authorisation of a product, substance or claim, or an evaluation of a risk assessment.

Scientific peer-review External link.

Evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field.

Scientific research and development

Means any scientific experimentation, analysis or chemical research carried out under controlled conditions in a volume less than one tonne per year. (The REACH Regulation)


The European Chemicals Agency's database for information on Substances of Concern In articles as such or in complex objects (Products) established under the Waste Framework Directive.

Screening method External link.

A first step method to establish the presence of a substance in a population for the purposes of estimating risk. Food intake is combined with likely chemical concentration to create an estimate of chemical exposure.


Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis of the European Chemicals Agency. (EU)


Swedish Rapporteur Programme for the evaluation of active substances in plant protection products and biocidal products.


Swedish Institute for Standards.


Summary Notification Information Format (placing GMO on the market).

Species sensitivity distribution (SDD) External link.

A model of the variation in sensitivity of a species to a particular source of harm (e.g. drought, pest invasion or chemical exposure).

Specific protection goals for environmental risk assessment for pesticides External link.

The specific goals of an environmental risk assessment in terms of what to protect, where to protect it, over what time period and with what degree of certainty.


Substances in Preparations in the Nordic countries. Database on chemical substances in products on the Nordic market.

Statistical significance External link.

A measure of the likelihood that a result occurred based on statistics.

Steps of risk assessment External link.

A scientifically-based process consisting of four steps: hazard identification, hazard characterisation, exposure assessment and risk characterisation.

Stressor External link.

A change in conditions, such as a drought, pest or chemical exposure, which often has negative effects on an organism or population.

Structural alert External link.

Parts of organic molecules which are believed to be responsible for adverse effects (e.g. genotoxicity) and can be used to predict the toxicity of similar compounds.


Chemical element and its compounds in natural or prepared form, including additives necessary to product stability and any impurities from the production process, but excluding solvents which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition.

Substances which occur in nature

Means a naturally occurring substance as such, unprocessed or processed only by manual, mechanical or gravitational means, by dissolution in water, by flotation, by extraction with water, by steam distillation or by heating solely to remove water, or which is extracted from air by any means. (The REACH Regulation)

Substitution principle, product choice principle

The product choice principle is defined in Chapter 2, Section 6 of the Environmental Code. The principle is also called the product choice principle. Persons who pursue an activity or take a measure, or intend to do so, shall avoid using or selling chemical products or biotechnical organisms that may involve risks to human health or the environment if products or organisms that are assumed to be less dangerous can be used instead. The same requirement shall apply to articles that contain or are treated with a chemical product or a biotechnical organism. The Environmental Code applies to everyone. A consumer is, thus, responsible to find less dangerous alternatives, also non chemical.

Supplier of an article

Means any producer or importer of an article, distributor or other actor in the supply chain placing an article on the market. (The REACH Regulation)

Supplier of a substance or a mixture

Means any manufacturer, importer, downstream user or distributor placing on the market a substance, on its own or in a mixture, or a mixture. (The REACH Regulation)

Sustainable development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Our common future, 1987).

Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC)

Substances that meet the criteria in Article 57 in the REACH Regulation. These are carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction, dangerous for the environment (persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic or very persistent and very bioaccumulative) or which have other serious properties, for example endocrine disrupting properties.

Synergistic effect External link.

An interaction that multiplies outcomes. The outcome in question may be beneficial or adverse.

Systemic pesticide External link.

A pesticide which is distributed throughout the target organism (e.g. insect, rodent or weed) without losing efficacy.



Tributyl tin.

Tolerable daily intake (TDI) External link.

An estimate of the amount of a substance in food or drinking water which is not added deliberately (e.g contaminants) and which can be consumed over a lifetime without presenting an appreciable risk to health.

Third country

All countries that are not members of the EU.

Threshold External link.

A dose or exposure below which adverse effects are not detected.

Tiered approach External link.

A way of organising toxicology assessments to maximise efficiency and minimise the use of animals. It involves a hierarchy (tiers) of tests, starting with those that use existing information or simple biological methods before moving onto tests using cells and eventually live animals only as necessary.


Product designed as or designated to be a toy. (Toys Directive)

Toxicity External link.

The potential of a substance to cause harm to a living organism.

Toxicodynamics External link.

The process of interaction of chemical substances with the body and the subsequent reactions leading to adverse effects.

Toxicokinetics External link.

The study of the processes by which potentially toxic substances are handled in the body. This involves an understanding of the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of such substances.

Toxicological profile External link.

A summary of the toxic effects of a particular substance, including the levels of exposure at which these effects occur.

Toxicological reference value External link.

A value defining the level of a particular substance to which people can safely be exposed over a specified period; for example, the acceptable daily intake (ADI).

Transmissible External link.

Capable of being passed between individuals in the same species, as well as between different species (e.g. from animals to humans).

External link.

The time required for 50% of a substance present in an individual, population or ecosystem to break down or be eliminated naturally. The half-life, or t½, is often used to describe the disappearance of potentially harmful substances such as chemical toxins.


Uncertainty External link.

A lack of full knowledge about a situation in, for example, risk assessment. Uncertainty can be reduced by carrying out more research.

Uncertainty analysis External link.

A method of identifying the sources of uncertainty in a risk assessment calculation and estimating their size and direction so that errors can be taken into account.


United Nations Environment Programme.

Upper bound estimate External link.

A way of estimating exposure to a particular compound from analytical data by assigning the lowest value which can be detected (or quantitated) to all samples with levels below this value. For a toxic chemical this gives the most pessimistic estimate of exposure (i.e. the real level of exposure will always be below the upper bound estimate).


Means any processing, formulation, consumption, storage, keeping, treatment, filling into containers, transfer from one container to another, mixing, production of an article or any other utilisation. (The REACH Regulation)

In the Biocidal Products Regulation "use" refers to all operations carried out with a biocidal product, including storage, handling, mixing and application, except any such operation carried out with a view to exporting the biocidal product or the treated article outside the Union

Use and exposure category

Means an exposure scenario covering a wide range of processes or uses, where the processes or uses are communicated, as a minimum, in terms of the brief general description of use. (The REACH Regulation)


Variability External link.

Natural variations observed between members of a population, or observed over time or in different geographical locations; for example, individual variations in susceptibility to a particular toxic chemical.


Volatile Organic Compound. Collective term of organic substances (substances based on carbon) that can be easily vaporized. From this definition follows that carbon dioxide is not counted as a VOC due to that the substance is inorganic. Perchlorethylene, however, is counted as a VOC even though the substance has no hydrogen atoms. 


Very persistent and very bioaccumulating.

Vulnerable group External link.

Group of people needing specific consideration when assessing the nutritional needs or health effects of substances; for example, pregnant women, infants and people exposed to higher doses of substances through their environment.



Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC). Directive on wastes consisting of or containing electrical or electronic equipment. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is competent authority for issues relating to the WEEE Directive.


World Health Organization.

White paper

Commission White Papers are documents containing proposals for EU action in a specific area. In some cases they follow a Green Paper published to launch a consultation process at European level. When a White Paper is favourably received by the Council of the EU, it can lead to an action programme for the Union in the area concerned.


World Wide Fund for Nature.



X-ray fluorescence, X-ray refractiometer.



Last published 10 March 2021