AskREACH project partners are joining forces to promote a chemical-free Christmas

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Christmas is the perfect time to buy new things, such as toys, decorations and utensils. However, some of these objects may contain substances of very high concern (SVHC). European partners in the LIFE AskREACH project are joining forces for a Christmas campaign to raise awareness among consumers about chemicals in everyday objects. If you want to follow the campaign, type the hashtag #ToxicFreeXmas into social media platforms and the various posts by the project partners will appear.

The right to know and be informed

Consumers are entitled to know whether an everyday item contains substances that are potentially dangerous to human health or the environment. At a consumer’s request, suppliers must provide information about these substances of very high concern (SVHC), identified in the EU REACH regulation. SVHCs may be carcinogenic, reprotoxic or mutagenic; may be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic for the environment; or may pose a similar level of concern, such as endocrine disruptors. Unlike other products (such as cosmetics, foods and detergents), where the ingredients appear on the label, consumers are rarely told that these items contain these SVCHs. If consumers want make sure that there are none of these substances in items such as toys, electronics, clothes or furniture, they can send a request to manufacturers.

The LIFE AskREACH project focuses on 4 product families covered by the REACH regulation

Toys: If you want to learn more about the different regulations that apply to this type of item, as well as the limits of these regulations, please take a look at our previous news articles.

Christmas decorations: A recent study conducted by AskREACH project partners, which involved analysing Christmas decorations from across Europe, revealed that phthalates are being used as plasticisers in Christmas baubles, artificial Christmas trees and fairy lights. These substances can be reprotoxic. In addition, some decorations also contained toxic flame retardants and chlorinated paraffins which are dangerous for the environment.

Electronics: In order to make them more efficient and/or give them special properties, some SVHCs are added to electronics during their manufacture. These SVHCs are often inside these devices and users do not come into direct contact with them. However, using them contributes to the long-term production of waste that can affect the environment and/or health. 

Kitchen utensils: Different types of kitchen utensils, crockery and even food packaging may contain substances that give them specific properties (such as non-stick, fat resistance and water resistance), as well as perfluoroalkyls and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS). These substances may pose long-term dangers to health and the environment.

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