Part.3 - How the EU ensures the safety of plastics
The EU has built a protective environment for consumers
The EU system was developed to ensure the safe use of chemicals and the products made out of them. Monomers, additives and polymers are all regulated and evaluated by the European safety agencies, supported by their national counterparts.
Besides the REACH regulation, which specifically addresses chemicals, many additional regulations apply to sensitive consumer applications: plastics in contact with food, used in toys or in medical devices, etc. These regulations define the conditions to be met – such as a Specific Migration Limit for every constituent – to ensure the safe use of the end products. Of course, these limits are updated whenever scientific knowledge warrants it.
The EU has created several independent scientific authorities, each one ensuring the safety of consumers:
- ECHA (European Chemicals Agency). Through the REACH regulation framework, industry is required to review all scientific data and generate risk assessments for all chemicals it puts on the market, including the monomers and additives used to make plastics. ECHA supports the implementation of REACH and evaluates the safety of chemicals.
- EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). EFSA gives science-based opinions on the monomers and additives of plastics that come into contact with food, including packaging, kitchenware, food and drink containers.
- EU Commission SCHEER (Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks). SCHEER gives science-based opinions on monomers and additives of plastics that can be found in medical devices, instruments and premises.