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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Jiménez

EU New Standards: Hazardous Chemicals to Essential Uses Only

In a significant effort to promote sustainability and chemical safety, the European Commission has introduced a set of criteria and principles that will define "essential uses" of the most harmful chemicals within EU legislation.

This initiative, effective as of April 22, 2024, is an integral part of the EU’s Chemical Strategy for Sustainability.

EU New Standards: Hazardous Chemicals to Essential Uses Only
EU New Standards: Hazardous Chemicals to Essential Uses Only

Details of the New Regulation

The new policy establishes a framework for assessing when chemicals, otherwise highly restricted due to their environmental and health risks, can be justified in critical applications.

This approach focuses on maintaining functionality in essential sectors such as health, safety, and the green and digital transition, ensuring that such substances are used only when no viable alternatives exist and their application is crucial for society.

Impact on Industry and Innovation

The measure promises to increase predictability for manufacturers and investors, clearly outlining the conditions under which hazardous chemicals can continue to be part of essential processes and products. At the same time, this policy encourages the industry to invest in the development of safer and more sustainable chemicals, directing innovation efforts toward less harmful alternatives.

Supporting the Transition with Incentives and Funding

In addition to regulation, the European Commission is fostering research and innovation in this field through sustainable financing schemes and research projects. For instance, over one billion euros have been allocated to 190 research and innovation projects under programs such as Horizon Europe and the Innovation Fund, highlighting the EU's commitment to promoting clean chemical processes and products.

Assessment and Future of Chemicals in the EU

A recent report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) underscores the need for progress in reducing the environmental and health impact of hazardous chemicals. This study provides an indicator framework to assess progress and challenges in reducing chemical pollution, offering a clear path for future improvements in this crucial area.


The implementation of these criteria and principles by the European Commission represents a significant advancement towards a safer and more sustainable future, marking a firm commitment to environmental protection and public health in the transition to a greener and more digital chemical industry in the EU.

If you find yourself in need of additional information or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us promptly. We are here to assist you and provide any further details you may require.

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