Product responsibility for chemicals

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Chemicals are found in all products, and no matter how small or large your enterprise is, your products must comply with the requirements in legislation and rules for chemicals.

There are many rules restricting chemicals in for example:

  • Electronics
  • Construction products
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Jewellery
  • Toys
  • Furniture and home furnishings
  • Packaging
  • Laundry and dishwashing detergents
  • Adhesives
  • Paint
  • Lubricating oils.

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What do you need to monitor?

No matter if you are a manufacturer, importer or distributor you are responsible for the products you sell. As a business operator, you need to ensure that the products comply with the chemical regulations.

Your business is liable, regardless of where you source raw materials, materials or finished products. You cannot refer to the fact that you bought something from a supplier who has to comply with the regulations.

Some substances in banned in certain products, other require you to have a permit. But for most products:

  • You must know that your product does not contain banned substances.
  • You can be obliged to inform your customers if the product contains certain substances.
  • The product must be clearly labelled in Swedish, for example how it must be handled in order to ensure safe use.
  • You may need to report the product to the products register at the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

You should:

  • Investigate which chemical rules that apply to your product.
  • Ask and make demands on your supplier.

Read more about your chemicals responsibility on the Swedish Chemicals Agency website

From 1 July 2017, manufacturers and importers are obliged to pay a chemical tax on electronics containing flame retardants.  

Read more about the chemical tax on the Swedish Tax Agency website

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What happens if you make a mistake?

If you, as a business operator, do not comply with the chemical regulations, you may have a sales ban imposed or be forced to recall your products from your customers. You might also be forced to pay an environmental sanctions charge. In the event of serious infringements, you could be prosecuted for environmental offences.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency, municipalities and county administrative boards are the inspection bodies who inspect enterprises to ensure that they are complying with the rules.

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Hygiene products, cosmetics and foodstuffs

If you trade in foodstuffs, hygiene products or cosmetics, special rules apply regarding chemicals. In this context, hygiene products are treated as cosmetics and are subject to the same rules.

Read more about safe food on the Swedish National Food Agency website (in Swedish)

Read more about chemicals in hygiene products and cosmetics on the Swedish Medical Products Agency website (in Swedish)

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Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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