International Consumer Rights Day

The 15th of March of each year marks the World Consumer Rights Day. This event originated in the 80s to mobilize citizens’ action and to promote safer products and protection of the consumer. In this occasion we would like to highlight the consumer’s “Right to know” of the existence of harmful chemicals in -everyday-products, otherwise called, consumers articles.

In fact, we are surrounded, in our daily life, by potentially harmful chemicals. These chemicals are present in many consumer articles as additives in plastics, flame-retardants in furniture and car seats, plasticisers in toys or PVC-floorings, etc.

These harmful substances could be released into the environment and find their way into our bodies through food, skin contact or even the air we breathe. They are considered as so-called “substances of very high concern” (SVHC) because of their particular hazard properties. These are:

- Substances classified  as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction
- Substances which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic or very persistent and very bioaccumulative
- Substances that cause an equivalent level of concern as mentioned above, such as endocrine disruptors.

In order to protect the citizens and the environment, the EU chemicals regulation, REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), have defined the obligation for article suppliers to communicate on SVHCs in articles down the supply chain, but have also established the consumer’s “Right to know” on the SVHC contained in a concentration above 0.1% by weight. Thus, the consumers have the right to request this information to the article suppliers, which are obliged to provide the information within 45 days.

In addition, to make it easier for the consumers to use their “Right to know”, an App -Scan4chem - was developed to help them know about harmful chemicals classified as SVHC in consumer articles.  The Scan4chem App was developed in the framework of the EU LIFE AskREACH project, in collaboration with the REACH&CLP Helpdesk Luxembourg and the IT for Innovative Services (ITIS) department of Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology and it operates in 14 European countries.

Use the Scan4Chem app to scan the barcode of the consumer article like a toy, furniture, clothing, electronics, etc. while doing your daily shopping! In the case where the information  ofthe scanned article isincluded in the database,  the app shows you whether the article contains SVHCs or not. If no information is available, use the App to send a request directly to the supplier!

It is important to keep in mind that the more requests we send, the sooner suppliers will enter their article SVHC information in the database. In this way, we can enlarge the Scan4chem database and empower consumer to act and make informed purchasing decisions!



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Scan4Chem, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology