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Swedish Chemicals Agency Inspects Rubber and Plastic Articles Sold to Consumers

The Swedish Chemicals Agency (SCA) announced that it has tested chemicals in articles that are made of rubber or plastic which come into contact with the skin or which can be inserted into the mouth, and which have been placed on the market.

Hong Kong companies exporting commonly used consumer goods to Sweden and elsewhere in the EU should be alerted to the results: the SCA found prohibited levels of carcinogenic substances in several of the tested articles.

The SCA held that it has examined a total of 60 rubber or plastic articles available on the Swedish market. These included:

  • handles on bikes;
  • exercise products and tools;
  • hammers;
  • boots;
  • cables; and
  • yoga mats.

The items were tested for their contents of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (so-called PAHs), as well as lead, short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) and a number of phthalates.

PAHs are substances that are not added to the products intentionally, but that occur as impurities in raw materials that are used to manufacture plastic and rubber articles. Exposure to these substances may involve risks to human health as they are suspected of causing cancer or of being mutagenic, and the substances can also cause problems in the long-term for the environment.

The SCA found prohibited levels of PAHs in 5 of the tested articles and prohibited levels of SCCPs in 3 of the tested articles. It also found prohibited levels of lead in 2 of the tested articles, namely in a hammer and in a rubber handle.

In 6 of the tested articles, the SCA found substances (mainly the phthalate DEHP) that have been inserted into the EU’s Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) in levels above 0.1%. Pursuant to the REACH Regulation, companies that sell such products are under an obligation to always and automatically inform downstream recipients about the SVHC content in these products. Companies may also be faced with consumer requests for such information. In such case, they are obliged to respond in writing within 45 days.

The SCA announced that several of the companies that sold articles with prohibited levels of chemicals stopped selling these articles voluntarily, after having received the results of the SCA’s market test.

However, in two cases the companies did not state that they had stopped selling the articles at issue voluntarily; in consequence, the SCA decided on a sales ban in respect of these articles.

The companies that sold articles with prohibited levels of substances were also reported to the so-called environment prosecutors for suspicion of an environmental offence.

Please click on the following for the SCA report (available only in Swedish).

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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