Substances in articles

Articles consist of one or more different types of materials and different materials are associated with the occurrence of various chemical substances. It may be substances that the material is made up of, additives or substances that are used during the manufacturing process and may occur in residual amounts in the final product. In PRIO, information on a substance´s potential occurrence in materials is divided into two levels of reliability (Occurrence in materials and Indicated occurrence in materials). The levels show whether the information is reviewed at subject level or whether it is mainly based on an overall screening level. With advanced search in PRIO, you are able to search for substances that may occur in a certain material.

How to divide an article into different types of material

  1. Prioritise which articles and materials you want to know more about.
  2. Find out which materials the article is made of by dividing it into different types of materials. You can use the main material categories below. The main categories may be further divided into subcategories. For example, plastics can further be divided into subcategories such as polyethene (PE), polypropene (PP), polyvinylchloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), polyurethane (PUR) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). There are also many sub-categories of textiles, for example cotton, polyester and wool.
  3. Material (main categories)

    Material (main categories)



    Chemical product, material related




    Paper, paperboard


    Stone, plaster, cement


    Wood, cork

  4. Consider what functions the materials have that can be achieved chemically. Different substances may have been added to provide the article or material with for example color, fragrance, sustainability, fire resistance, impregnation, mold protection or softness.
  5. Turn to your supplier to find out more about the chemical content of articles and materials. You can for example ask about which plasticiser has been used in plastic, or whether the articles contain a certain substance. You can turn to various industrial associations and research institutes for more information about different materials and the substances they may contain. You can also use the Advanced search function in PRIO to identify what substances may be of relevance for a certain material. Note that PRIO is not an exhaustive source of all environmental and human health hazardous substances that may be of relevance for an article or a specific material.
  6. When you know what materials the article are made of and which substances they contain, you can use the search function in PRIO to obtain more information concerning the environmental and health properties of the substances.

The materials in PRIO are divided into ten main categories that correspond to the material categories used in the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) SCIP database External link, opens in new window. (Substances of Concern In Articles as such or in complex objects (Products)). To the SCIP database, suppliers of articles must submit information to Echa on substances of high concern (SVHC), i.e. substances on the Candidate list in the REACH regulation, if present in concentration above 0,1 w/w. The information will then be accessible in the SCIP database with the purpose to make it public through an article´s entire life cycle, including the waste stage.

Read more about substances in materials.

On the Swedish Chemicals Agency's website, you can find more information about hazardous substances that can occur in common plastic product groups.

Product groups with plastics - to consider at recycling (in Swedish only).

Substances that may hamper plastic recycling (in Swedish only).

Last published 30 October 2023