The European and Swedish Chemicals Agencies both inspect thousands of articles. Importantly, inspectors uncovered hundreds of products with illegal amounts of hazardous chemicals. Thus, many articles non-compliant with substance regulations in the European Union (EU) remain.
Consequently, the ECHA published a full report in February 2018 as part of FORUM’s Harmonised Enforcement Project on Restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Chemicals Agency (kemikalienspektionen, also called KEMI) has conducted a similar investigation. Consequently, they have prosecuted 16 out of the inspected 19 importers for non-compliant products. KEMI investigated 261 goods, including:
Specifically, 61 products (23%) contained at least one banned substance above the maximum limit. The most common offense was high levels of lead in solder used for electrical and electronic devices. Second, short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) were present in soft plastics. Furthermore, there were restricted phthalates in moisturizers.
Ms. Camilla Westlund, one of KEMi’s inspectors, has declared that companies have improved chemical control. However, there are still many products that contain illegal substances. She has also said that while the health risks for individual products are not high, we should reduce the total amount of human and environmental exposure to toxic material.
For example, lead, which KEMI revealed in solder, is a heavy metal that can cause:
Therefore, RoHS regulations restrict lead and other hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
Next, cadmium, which the ECHA discovered in jewelry and brazing fillers, is carcinogenic and can affect:
Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) serve in many soft plastics. Sadly, SCCPs hurt aquatic organisms and may cause cancer. Consequently, the EU Persistent Organic Pollutants regulations (POP) restrict the use of SCCPs.
Some phthalates are carcinogenic, reprotoxic (prevent reproduction), and can upset the body’s hormonal system. Worryingly, KEMI and the ECHA uncovered such phthalates in toys and moisturizers.
Lastly, hexavalent chromium, possibly present in leather articles, is irritant, carcinogenic, and toxic to:
Finally, KEMI lists tips to reduce the risk of unsafe goods: