The term "chemicals" is understood to mean chemical elements and their compounds in their natural state or resulting from a production process. Two scenarios are possible.
The chemicals are existing substances, i.e. placed on the market before 1981 without prior testing. There are around 100,000 such substances. The European Union, in collaboration with the Member States, is progressively evaluating the risk of these chemical substances. Belgium has been assigned the task of carrying out a risk analysis for three specific substances: cadmium and cadmium oxide (notably found in accumulators in batteries) and MDI (chemicals used in certain types of glues).
The chemicals are new substances, i.e. introduced since 1981. Before being released on the market, new products have to be notified in one of the Member States. If approval is granted, it has effect in the European Union as a whole. The national authority (DG Environment for Belgium) then checks the physical and chemical properties, toxicity and ecotoxicity of the substances and the proposed labelling on the basis of the notification files transmitted by the chemicals industry. Where appropriate, DG Environment carries out a risk analysis according to the criteria established in European regulations. This study is meant to identify and assess the dangers the substance represents to the environment and health.
Dangerous preparations are intentional mixtures of several chemicals. The challenge consists in checking the conformity of the market release of these products with standards on: labelling, packaging, material safety data sheets and notification of the product to the poison control centre.
Biocides are products used to combat harmful organisms, but which are not medicines, phyto-pharmaceutical products or cosmetics. They are governed by special legislation.
DG Environment examines the application for marketing authorisation for such products. Authorisation is also required for operators who sell biocides and pesticides for agricultural use. Such authorisation takes into account the capacity of the seller or user: Does he have the required diploma? Does he have appropriate storage premises?
Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Place Victor Horta, 40 box 10
Contact Center: +32 (0)2 524.97.97
Published on 30/08/2006 – Page last updated on 30/08/2006