The Scan4Chem app has been advising you with your purchases for a year

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As part of the EU LIFE AskREACH project, the French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks (INERIS) is assisting with the roll-out of the Scan4Chem mobile app in France. It has been available in France for a year now and aims to raise awareness among consumers and manufacturers about the issue of chemicals in everyday objects.
This app is the only one of its kind in Europe and helps both consumers to exercise their right to know whether there are chemical substances in products and manufacturers to properly fulfil their legal obligations.

So, how does Scan4Chem work?

Scan4Chem is a free crowd-sourced app developed as part of the EU LIFE AskREACH project. It gives consumers a platform to ask brands about whether the everyday objects that they produce contain substances of very high concern (SVHC*). Thanks to the app’s “scan” feature, which can be used with your smartphone’s camera, you can scan an item’s barcode and send a request easily if the item does not appear in the database. Using its “manual search” feature, you can search for an item by its name or brand, which is useful when shopping online. 

The Scan4Chem has a wide yet specific scope, and covers all items and their packaging, such as clothing, toys, baby products, furniture, kitchen utensils, sports equipment, electronics and household appliances. However, the app does not cover mixtures, such as foods, paints, inks, household cleaners, cosmetics and hygiene products (except for their packaging, which are classified as items). 

Unlike other products (such as cosmetics, foods and detergents), where the ingredients appear on the label, consumers are rarely told that these items covered by the app contain these chemicals. If they are not listed in the Scan4Chem database, a request can be sent in order to make sure that the items in question contain no SVHCs.


The picture in France and across Europe

To date, 440 French brands are listed in the database, meaning that consumers can send a “request” to their contact address to ask them about whether their products contain SVHCs.

Some of these brands still need to make the effort to register their items in the database in order to confirm their commitment to the project. There are currently 28,900 items registered across Europe, including 3,200 in France. 

Across Europe, 25,000 consumers have downloaded the app. By scanning items before buying them, these consumers are making informed purchases and contributing to the database.