Lab Canada

Wealth of chemicals info in newly launched database

Helsinki, Finland – ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, has launched a new chemicals database on its website to make it easier to find information on a vast number of chemicals used in Europe (EU). Aimed at both professional and non-professional users, the new database includes topics ranging from detailed data on chemical substances, descriptions of hazardous effects, hazard classification and labelling, guidance on safe use and more.

ECHA says the database is one of the world’s largest regulatory databases on chemicals, and includes information from REACH registration dossiers and classification and labelling notifications from industry along with other sources. The database itself encompasses classification and labelling of 120,000 chemicals; the hazards and safe use of 14,000 chemicals registered under the REACH regulation; two million study summaries on properties and effects of chemicals; 168 chemicals listed as being of very high concern; and 64 chemicals for which their use has been restricted in the EU.

REACH, which is administered by ECHA, governs the manufacture and use of chemicals in the EU, with the ultimate goal of reducing or eliminating harmful chemicals throughout the region. Huge in scope and ambition, it is also having a significant impact on the worldwide chemical business and manufacturing, and is the model for other similar sets of legislation around the world.

On the new database, information is available in three layers of complexity: InfoCards, brief profiles and source data.

InfoCards provide a summary of the key information on a chemical substance in plain English. Users can read about the chemicals they are exposed to, where they are commonly used, whether they are hazardous and the precautions that they might need to take.

The brief profiles delve deeper into the environmental, human health and physico-chemical properties of the chemical, providing overviews of the information collected for each substance under the different chemical regulations. This will be most useful for employers, workers, academics and regulators.

The third level, source data, includes the raw data submitted by companies to ECHA in REACH registration dossiers and notifications to the classification and labelling inventory.

“ECHA is moving from collecting information to making much better use of it for the general public as well as for regulators throughout the world,” said Geert Dancet, ECHA’s executive director. “This launch is an important step towards safer chemicals by 2020 and a great contribution from the EU to the goals of the United Nations’ World Summit on Sustainable Development set in 2002.”

The database can be accessed on ECHA’s website.