|Approaches for better information and monitoring of POPs in articles|
|Monitoring of POPs in articles and products|
|Alternative assessment approaches for chemical alternatives|
|Screening of potential POPs in chemical databases|
|Tools for the assessment of POPs properties of chemicals|
|Toxicity assessment of alternatives|
|Case study: Scientific assessment of a PFOS alternatives in chromium plating|
Improved disclosure of POPs (and other hazardous chemicals) in products would make it possible both to reduce the risk of exposure and to track the movement of these chemicals through the economy and into recycling flows which could then better be protected, Also, it would help consumers to make informed choices of safer but sometimes more expensive alternatives and help to drive the market towards greener products containing sustainable chemicals.
For HBCD, a labelling scheme will be developed for the exempted use in XPS/EPS insulation material to control the end of life management of XPS/EPS and to protect and support the recycling of XPS/EPS. For other POPs, such a labelling scheme has not been developed yet; however, considerations on labelling of POPs in articles have been compiled in the Stockholm Convention document “Labelling of products or articles that contain POPs – Initial considerations”.
Some countries have developed specific information schemes for hazardous chemicals which might in a modified way be applied for POPs or POPs-like chemicals:
There are a range of laws in different countries that require disclosure of certain information about chemicals in products/articles. POPs as one of the most hazardous groups of chemicals should be foremost addressed if countries have or develop such systems on disclosure of information.
Notification of chronic health effects and Toxics Information Clearinghouse (California; United States)
California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (commonly referred to as Proposition 65) provides for the annual publication of a list of chemicals that are "known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity." The list includes approximately 775 chemicals.
Under Proposition 65, businesses must provide a ‘clear and reasonable’ warning when a product or workplace will expose people to listed chemicals. This warning can be provided through a label, signs posted at a workplace, "distributing notices at a rental housing complex, or publishing notices in a newspaper."
Notification is not required if the exposure is below a scientifically established "no observable effect level" (NOEL), divided by 1,000. Where a NOEL has not been established for a chemical, this provision creates an incentive for firms to generate data that could serve as the basis for establishing a NOEL.
Because of the requirements of Proposition 65, some products sold in California bear a label stating that “This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.” These labels make it possible for consumers in California to make informed choices about the products they purchase. This information makes it possible for consumers, in turn, to send clear market signals up the supply chain. If a similar requirement were adopted elsewhere in the world as well, the market signals could be further reinforced.
In 2008, California adopted two new laws that increase the state’s ability to manage information on toxic chemicals, including those found in articles. Moving beyond the approach of legislation that focuses on one or a few chemicals at a time, the new laws provide a broad approach to all chemicals in commerce. The state is directed to create a Toxics Information Clearinghouse to identify the chemicals of highest concern, inventory comprehensive information on these chemicals, and provide information to the public. In 2014, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued its first proposed list of priority chemical-product pairs (a chemical of concern as used in a specific product). Once these designations are finalized, companies selling these products in California will be subject to a number of requirements, including a requirement to develop an alternatives assessment.
Notification of toxics in children's products
In 2008, the states of Maine and Washington (United States) adopted toxics legislation that requires submission of toxics data to the state, among other provisions.
Both of these laws have the potential to increase significantly the amount of information available to state governments, and to the public, regarding toxic substances in children's articles.
Establishing the necessary databases to manage this information can be a large undertaking for a state government. This includes creating the information infrastructure, as well as defining rules as to what entities must comply, and providing for enforcement. Maine and Washington, along with other states, have entered into discussions to create a new interstate entity called the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse, through which states can pool resources, share data collected on different product types, collect information from initiatives in other countries, and share the burden of conducting assessments of safer substitutes. These states have collaborated on the creation of a harmonized database on mercury in products, and this model could be used for other chemicals as well. Washington has created a database of chemicals in children’s products, which provides substantial information to the state and to the public.
 Text largely excerpted from Massey RI, Hutchins JG, Becker M, Tickner J (2008) Toxic Substances in Articles: The Need for Information. TemaNord 2008:596.
 California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Proposition 65 in Plain Language, accessed at
http://www.oehha.org/prop65/background/p65plain.html and Proposition 65, accessed at http://www.oehha.org/prop65.html
 California AB 1978, accessed at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1851-1900/ab_1879_bill_20080929_chaptered.html, and SB 509,accessed at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/sen/sb_0501-0550/sb_509_bill_20080929_chaptered.html
 Act to Protect Children’s Health and the Environment from Toxic Chemicals in Toys and Children’s Products, accessed at http://www.chemicalspolicy.org/legislationdocs/Maine/ME_1691.pdf.
Management of Information on Chemicals in Articles under REACH
The European Union (EU) chemicals regulation, REACH, is designed to improve information flow and enhance chemicals management in multiple dimensions. It mandates information sharing about both chemical hazards and chemical uses.
The information requirements under REACH make it necessary for firms to obtain and disclose to their supply chains, and to some degree the public, significantly more information about chemicals in articles. As a result, REACH is leading to greater information flow up and down the supply chain. For gaps in respect to POPs in articles see Annex 6.1.7.
Substances in articles: Registration and notification requirements:
Article 7 of REACH includes two requirements that apply specifically to substances in articles: registration and notification.
The notification requirement is waived if "the producer or importer can exclude exposure of the substances to humans or the environment during normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use including disposal," or if the substance has already been registered for the use in question.
According to article 33 of the REACH regulation, any supplier of an article containing substances of very high concern (SVHC) included on the candidate list for authorization in a concentration above 0.1% (w/w) has to provide the recipient of the article with sufficient information, available to the supplier, to allow safe use of the article.
To facilitate consumer information, Denmark has introduced an app that allows consumers to test whether products contain any substances of very high concern (SVHCs) by scanning the article's barcode. The tool is part of the "Check chemistry" campaign created by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the Think Consumer Council.
This requirement to communicate information applies at any quantity; there is no annual tonnage threshold below which it does not apply. This requirement cannot be waived based on exclusion of exposure, or based on the substance already having been registered for the use in question.
The Environmental Agency of Germany has developed an electronic guidance for manufacturers and importers of articles describing their information tasks under REACH. The “REACH SVHC Communicator” tool is publicly available under http://svhc-in-articles-communication.de/.
In addition to the information disclosure requirements that refer specifically to articles, other requirements under REACH will also lead to greater availability of information about substances in articles.
In completing a registration for a chemical product, the manufacturer or importer is required to determine, and document, how that chemical will be used downstream, requiring communication with the supply chain to determine such uses. This means that if the chemical will be incorporated into an article downstream, this information must be provided to the European Chemicals Agency.
Further, if the chemical is produced or imported in quantities from ten tonnes per year, the manufacturer or importer must produce a Chemical Safety Report which will provide information on the risks the substance poses in different use/exposure scenarios.
In summary, the information requirements under REACH are likely to ensure better data about how substances are used in articles. They should also ensure greater information about the flow of chemicals, from initial manufacture through incorporation in a final product and eventual disposal of that product.
There are a range of initiatives by some industrial sectors (e.g. electronics industry and auto industry) or by some pro-active companies to track and disclose information on chemicals in the products they produce or sell which could be used for POPs and are in some cases used for POPs in articles an products. Some examples are listed in Annex 2. These schemes mainly aim to provide information within supply chains but in some cases, the information is also made available for non-industrial stakeholders such as consumers or policy makers (see Annex 2).
In May, 2009, the second session of the International Conference of Chemicals Management (ICCM2) adopted a resolution agreeing to implement a project on Chemicals in Products with the overall objective of promoting the implementation of paragraph 15 (b) of the Overarching Policy Strategy of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. The Conference invited UNEP to lead and facilitate the project. The Conference agreed that the following tasks be undertaken:
• to collect and review existing information on information systems pertaining to chemicals in products including but not limited to regulations, standards and industry practices;
• to assess that information in relation to the needs of all relevant stakeholders and identify gaps;
• to develop specific recommendations for actions to promote implementation of the SAICM with regard to such information, incorporating identified priorities and access and delivery mechanisms.
These UNEP-led activities are in support of SAICM emerging issue on chemicals in products. The resolution recommended that proposals for cooperative actions should take into account the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals and avoid any duplication of efforts under that system.
Up to now a range of useful documents from the Chemicals in Products project have been published:
• An “overview of systems for providing information regarding chemicals in products and of stakeholders’ needs for such information” (11/2010),
• The “CiP Project synthesis report” (02/2011),
including developed sector case studies for:
• Building products - February, 2011,
At ICCM3 (September, 2012 - Nairobi, Kenya) a side event on “The Need for Chemicals in Products information” was held. ICCM3 reviewed the findings and generally endorsed UNEP’s proposed recommendations for future actions. More specifically, the Conference invited UNEP to continue to lead the CiP project and mandated the project (in the next intersessional period 2012-2015 prior to ICCM4) to develop a proposal for an international CiP programme.
At ICCM3 a resolution on CiP for the 2012-2015 was mandated to UNEP CiP project.
 Nimpuno N, Scruggs C (2011) Information on Chemicals in Electronic Products. TemaNord 2011:524.
Dannwolf U, Ulmer F, Cooper J, Hartlieb S (2011) Chemicals in Products Toys Sector Case Study for UNEP.
 UNEP DTIE (2011) The Chemicals in Products Project: Case Study of the Textiles Sector.