LIST launches app to inform consumers on chemicals of high concern

Published on 28/11/2019

With Scan4Chem consumers can use the barcode of a product to obtain information about substances of very high concern (SVHCs) in a product.

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology has developed the Scan4Chem App to help consumers and citizens protect themselves and the environment from chemicals of very high concern. Consumers have the right to information about the presence of such substances in products such as toys, sports articles, furniture, electrical appliances, clothing, etc. Substances of very high concern (SVHCs) are chemicals that are, for example, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction or particularly harmful to the environment.

A free app made in Luxembourg

With Scan4Chem consumers can use the barcode of a product to obtain information about SVHCs in the product. This enables them to identify and avoid products containing substances of very high concern. With their request they can also signal to the companies that they do not want to use such products. The app is available for free in the app stores: Google Play, App Store

The app, which has been developed by LIST in the framework of the EU LIFE AskREACH project, in collaboration with REACH&CLP Helpdesk Luxembourg, is being launched in 14 European countries, starting with Luxembourg, Germany and Sweden. The app will later on be launched successively in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Serbia and all versions should be available in early 2020. The ultimate aim is to establish the app in most European countries over the next three years.

Empowering consumers in their right to know

Article 33 of the European Chemicals Regulation REACH defines the duty of companies to communicate information on SVHCs in articles. If an app user submits a request to a supplier, he must inform within 45 days if such a substance is contained in the article in a concentration above 0.1% by weight.

The right to information applies to "products", i.e. most objects and packaging, but not to food and liquid or powdered products (cosmetics, detergents, paints, etc.). In the case of an assembled product (e.g. a bicycle), the supplier must also provide information on all the individual parts contained (e.g. bicycle handles).

Product suppliers can enter their information in a database linked to the app so that the information is available to all app users at any time. If there is no information in the database yet, then the app helps to create and transmit the consumer’s request. The more requests users make, the more likely product suppliers are to fill the database. 

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