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Chemical products: caution is called for

Chemical products are part of our daily life. We regularly use cleaning products, washing products, domestic bleach, anti-calcification sprays, drain cleaners, paints,... But their use does not come without risk: numerous environment and public health problems can be attributed to the increase of chemicals in our environment.

How to protect yourself and your family?
The section “classification and labelling” contains more explanations about the pictograms on labels of chemical products so that you know which hazards are associated with these products and how you should protect yourself. After all, improper use of chemicals can result in serious accidents and various health problems such as respiratory tract infections and irritation of the eyes. This section also contains information about alternatives for chemical products in your household or your garden.

Strict standards
Chemicals are subject to strict standards in order to protect the user. Europe published the Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) to reduce the risks of the production and the use of chemicals for health and the environment.

Pesticides or crop protection agents are chemical products that are used in agriculture and the garden to fight plant diseases and infestations. Specific legal rules have been developed to ensure the safe use of pesticides. The section “pesticides” and the website www.fytoweb.be contain information for companies about the conditions that the crop protection products have to comply with.

Biocides are chemical or biological products that repel or destroy undesirable or harmful organisms such as ants, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, fungi and bacteria. They can be used in or around the house. Specific legislation applies for biocides. The section "biocides" contains general information and explanations about their packaging and labelling. Companies will also find explanations about procedures for placing biocides on the market and about specific authorizations for the use and sale thereof.

Fertilizers are chemicals added to plants to help them grow or yield more. When used improperly, fertilizers can also be dangerous and cause damage to the environment. General information and the relevant legislation are available in the section “fertilisers”.
There is also a separate procedure for exchanging information on toxic chemicals import and export. You will find more about this in the section “Import and export (PIC)”.
 

Examples of hazardous substances

Asbestos, mercury, some phthalates (plasticizers that are used in many plastic products), brominated flame retardants and bisphenol A (a chemical component used in the production of certain types of plastic) are examples of harmful substances.

Are nanomaterials (extremely small materials) harmful for humans and the environment? You will find more explanations about nanomaterials, their applications, the risks and the role of the government in the section “nanomaterials”.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are chemicals that are difficult to break down and are extremely hazardous to the public health and the environment. Examples and relevant legislation are available in the section “Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)”.
 


 

Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Eurostation II
Place Victor Horta, 40 box 10
1060 Brussels
Belgium

Contact Center: +32 (0)2 524.97.97

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Published on 26/03/2015 – Page last updated on 26/03/2015

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