Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: Towards a Toxic-Free Environment

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2020) 667
Publication Date 14/10/2020
Content Type


Communication adopted by the European Commission on 14 October 2020, setting the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.

Further information:

This strategy aims to reduce the risks associated with producing and using chemicals. It vows to simplify and strengthen rules in the European Union (EU) on chemicals, and review how EU agencies and scientific bodies can work together towards a process where substances are only reviewed by one agency. The objectives include:

  • banning the most harmful chemicals in consumer products - allowing their use only where essential;
  • account for the cocktail effect of chemicals when assessing risks from chemicals;
  • phasing out the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the EU, unless their use is essential;
  • boosting the investment and innovative capacity for production and use of chemicals that are safe and sustainable by design, and throughout their life cycle;
  • promoting the EU’s resilience of supply and sustainability of critical chemicals;
  • establishing a simpler “one substance one assessment” process for the risk and hazard assessment of chemicals;
  • playing a leading role globally by championing and promoting high standards and not exporting chemicals banned in the EU.

The Strategy was published on 14 October 2020 by the European Commission, in the framework of the European Green Deal. An exchange of views with the European Parliament's relevant committee was held on the following day. The Council of the European Union held a discussion on this strategy at a meeting on 17 December 2020, and later adopted a set of conclusions on 12 March 2021.

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Commentary and Analysis
European Environmental Bureau: Letter, 12/10/2020: Time to ensure the EU is on the path to a toxic-free environment – letter on EU chemicals strategy
Food Packaging Forum: News, 14/10/2020: EU’s Chemicals Strategy plans actions on FCMs
ETUI: News, 22/10/2020: Chemical risks: are workers the big losers of the European strategy?

EurActiv, 13/10/2020: Europe aims for ‘zero pollution’ in upcoming chemicals strategy

EUR-LEX: SWD(2020)225: Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication - Executive Summary of the Fitness Check on endocrine disruptors
EUR-LEX: SWD(2020)247: Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication - Review of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restrictions of Chemicals (REACH), as laid down in its Article 138
EUR-LEX: SWD(2020)248: Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication - Synopsis report summarising the feedback received in the context of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability
EUR-LEX: SWD(2020)249: Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication - Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
EUR-LEX: SWD(2020)250: Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication - Progress report on the assessment and management of combined exposures to multiple chemicals (chemical mixtures) and associated risks
EUR-LEX: SWD(2020)251: Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication - Fitness Check on endocrine disruptors
European Parliament: Legislative Train Schedule: Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability
European Commission: Chemicals strategy
European Commission: Consultations: Chemicals – strategy for sustainability (toxic-free EU environment)
European Commission: Press Release, 14/10/2020: Green Deal: Commission adopts new Chemicals Strategy towards a toxic-free environment
European Commission: Green Deal: Chemicals Strategy towards a toxic-free environment - Questions and Answers (14 October 2020)
EPP Group: Newsroom, 14/10/2020: EPP Group wants to ban dangerous chemicals
G/EFA Group: Press Release, 14/10/2020: European transformation in chemicals policy draws closer
General Secretariat of the Council: Council conclusions on Sustainable Chemicals Strategy of the Union: Time to Deliver, 15 March 2021
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 15/03/2021: Council approves conclusions on the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability

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