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New law on dangerous chemicals approved

The contents of these products will still be poisonous with new labels Keystone

The government has approved a new law to come into force on August 1 to better protect consumers and the environment from dangerous chemicals.

This content was published on May 18, 2005 - 20:41

Conforming to European Union norms, the legislation should also boost trade for Switzerland’s chemical industry.

The move brings Swiss regulations into line with EU norms. For example, permitted levels for certain heavy metals will be introduced and bans placed on chemicals such as nonylphenol ethoxylates – used in a number of household and commercial cleaning products – which can leak into water supplies.

Switzerland will also match EU regulations on new chemicals and pesticides.

Swiss legislation is not being watered down in cases where it is tougher than in the EU, such as the ban on phosphates in household detergents and the amount of cadmium contained in fertilisers.

Liberalisation

Companies, however, will no longer need to apply for government approval to use nine out of ten chemical compounds on the market.

This is expected to ease trade with EU countries and lead to a greater variety of products appearing on Swiss shelves.

Permits will still be required for new chemicals and pesticides.

The revised regulations also include directives on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances and preparations such as detergents, insect sprays, paints and glues.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

New chemical law will come into force on August 1, conforming to EU norms.
It includes tougher regulations, and new labels and classifications designed to protect consumers.
There are currently around 100,000 chemical products on the Swiss market.

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