Products that people buy and use on a daily basis contain chemicals whose purpose is to enhance the life of the product, make them softer, decrease the risk of fire, etc. Our consumption pattern is reflected in the home in a way that most people do not realize. Það er til dæmis hægt að greina yfir 150 mismunandi efni í “rykrottum” á hverju meðalheimili. Many of those chemicals have been classified as harmful by the EC, that is, they are poisonous, lipidic and do not biodegrade in the body. The great amount of many chemicals in our home is the main reason that chemicals increase faster in humans than in the natural environment. Domestic chemical use is the main source of synthetic chemicals in nature.

With new legislation within the European Union in 1981, it became necessary to register, not evaluate, all chemicals that are produced and sold within the EC. Applications for registration were received for 100,106 chemicals. It is estimated that today there are up to 70,000 chemicals in use within the countries of the EC, and of those, there are around 30,000 which are produced in higher quantities than one ton per company per year. Only around 5% of the chemicals used have undergone some kind of risk assessment. Therefore our knowledge of the impact of chemicals in general on both human health and the environment is still severely limited.

Many people believe that the chemicals used today as constituents in, for instance, shampoo’s , clothing, construction materials, toys and other things are all carefully tested and accepted by the environmental and health authorities. It is more apt to say that those chemicals are not forbidden since there is no law or regulation in effect which demands that the producer check the danger of those chemicals before they are used in the product or sold in another way.

It is however the duty of public authorities to investigate the chemicals in use and if such is the case, prove that they can be harmful to human health and the environment. Then those chemicals can effectively be banned. The burden of proof, thus, lies with the public authorities not with the companies that market the chemicals. considers it only natural that the general consumer is informed about the effects of the various chemicals that are or can be part of a product. It is, therefore demanded by law that the producer/seller list and report to the public authorities what type of classification and which safety and precautionary measures apply to the chemical in question based on current law and regulations. There is, therefore, only a demand that the producer/seller in question report to the authorities the information required by law that he has to report anyway, on, for instance Material and Safety data sheets or on the commercial labeling of products.

Information about classification along with safety and precautionary labels is to be found in regulation 236/1990 [pertains to the classification, labelling and handling of hazardous chemicals and consumer products which contain such chemicals)] with later changes. Here it is correct to point out that in some cases the producer of the chemicals has to supply MSDS (Material Safety and Data sheets).


Chemicals such as flame retardants with bromide found in electric appliances, electrical chords, textiles, curtains, tapestry and furniture are considered harmful to the environment and may also have an effect on fertility and in other ways impair the health of human beings.

Plasticizers, so called phtalates, used in glue, paint, varnish, cosmetics, perfumes, plastic in floor materials and in certain toys are considered harmful to the environment and they too may also have a detrimental effect on fertility and in other ways impact on the health of human beings.

Biological chemicals with TBT which is, for instance, found in boat paint, textiles, clothing, leather products and floormats, besides being harmful to the environment are considered irritants for the skin and eyes.

Surface active chemicals for example, in soap and detergents that are harmful to the environment can also produce eczema and other skin diseases.

Grafik: A symbol exclusively used for hazardous chemicals and synthetic chemicals at ©

Aug. 4, 2012
Finnur Sveinsson
Finnur Sveinsson „Hættuleg efni / Tilbúin efni - viðmið“, Náttú Aug. 4, 2012 URL: [Skoðað:Feb. 21, 2024]
Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.
skrifað: March 28, 2007
breytt: Aug. 4, 2012