Substitution of hazardous chemicals

Laboratory glassesCompanies in the EU are increasingly substituting away from hazardous chemicals and manufacturing processes to safer chemicals and greener technologies. This can bring substantial benefits to the companies, the environment and the health of workers and consumers. It can also have a significant positive impact on the implementation of a circular economy.


There are many reasons why companies or other organisations may look to substitute a chemical, such as improving the environmental footprint of their products or manufacturing processes, providing a better technical functionality or responding to client demands or legal requirements. As part of these development efforts, it is important to look to reduce the potential risks caused by the substances that are used. Several substitution options should be considered: switching to a less hazardous chemical, using an alternative technique or creating a different product design. In practice, it is usually a combination of these actions that leads to success. Often, these actions improve production efficiency, drive innovation, help companies to gain a competitive advantage and save costs, and ultimately benefit human health and the environment.

Legal requirements

When gathering data on the impact of a chemical on human health and the environment, you may conclude that you could reduce the risk caused by your substance.

While that knowledge in itself may drive you to look for safer alternatives, for the most hazardous substances, the EU legislation can require you to substitute them.



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For general questions or suggestions on substitution related matters contact substitution[a]