EU decision ensures a continued high level of protection for Danish consumers against dangerous chemical substances and products.

03-17-2016

Denmark and the other Nordic countries have product registries that keep track of dangerous chemicals in order to protect consumers and employees. The Swedish product registry has been accused of being in conflict with EU law, but the European Court of Justice has now determined that it is legal.

 

Denmark can continue to have a product registry for dangerous chemicals, which contributes to ensuring a high level of consumer protection. This is how the Danish Environmental Protection Agency interprets a recent judgement from the ECJ, overruling an indictment against Sweden regarding the legality of the Swedish product registry.

 

Denmark has supported Sweden in the court case, as the case is important to the corresponding Danish product registry, which is used to keep track of dangerous chemicals used in industry.

 

The product registry is a significant source of information regarding the chemical products used in Denmark. Among other things, the Environmental Protection Agency uses the information to discover whether certain chemicals may constitute a risk for humans or the environment. Therefore, the information in the registry is important in order to protect the population against risk from chemical substances.

 

Better Track of Chemicals.

 

The industry is obligated to register all chemical substances, manufactured or imported, into the European Chemicals Agency. However, the information they need to submit is not detailed enough for the authorities to determine the extent to which humans and the environment are exposed to the substances. Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries have had product registries for a long time, which are used by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Working Environment Authority in their daily work with tracking dangerous chemicals.

 

The Danish product registry is an important tool for authorities when they are in the field, checking the use of chemicals, or when there is a chemical emergency, and it is important to know the extent of their dangerousness.

 

The Court of Justice has decided that although the industry is already required to register its substances with the European Chemicals Agency in accordance with the ‘REACH Act’, the member countries can also require that chemical products be registered in national databases, such as the Danish and Swedish product registries, if the information is necessary for the work of the authorities to protect humans and the environment.

 

Facts.

 

About the judgment:

 

The European Court of Justice has just handed down a judgment in favor of Sweden and the other Nordic countries in a case where a Swedish company ‘Canadian Oil Company Sweden AB’ has brought proceedings before the Swedish courts against the state, alleging that the Swedish product registry is incompatible with EU law. The court has ruled that although the industry must register its substances in accordance with the REACH regulation, the member countries can also require that chemical products must be registered in national databases, if information is necessary for the work of the authorities in protecting humans and the environment and provided that this registration does not constitute a precondition for marketing those products and that the registration concerns other information than that required by the REACH act.

 

Denmark has intervened in the case in support of Sweden, since we have a similar product registry in Denmark.

 

About the Danish product registry:

 

The Danish product registry is a common registry between the Working Environment Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency. The registry is used to create an overview over the proliferation and use of dangerous chemicals in Denmark. The registry contains information about roughly 38,000 registered chemical products. It was established in 1979 as a central common registry for the Working Environment Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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