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Consumer Safety

EU releases database of toxic chemicals in products

by Britt E. Erickson
September 18, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 34


Vehicle batteries stacked in a pile.
Credit: Shutterstock
Lead-acid batteries used in vehicles are one of the most common products found in a new database of toxic chemicals in products sold in the European Union.

Consumers in the European Union now have access to a database of toxic chemicals in commonly used products, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced Sept. 14. The new database contains information provided by about 6,000 companies, which are required to notify ECHA if they market products that contain “substances of very high concern” at concentrations of more than 0.1% by weight. Lead compounds, found in products such as batteries, automotive parts, and crystalware, are the most common substances in the database. ECHA received more than 4 million notifications, but it is unclear how many products are associated with them. In some cases, multiple companies submitted notifications for the same product; in other cases, companies submitted one notification for multiple products. The information is intended to help consumers make decisions about the products they purchase and to assist waste operators in safely reusing and recycling items. “It will help to track products containing substances of very high concern until they reach the waste stage, supporting the goals of a circular economy,” ECHA executive director Bjorn Hansen says in a statement.


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