The Portuguese will be able to have access to information, through equipment such as a smartphone that supports this application, on the presence of dangerous chemicals in products, under a European program running in the next five years, announced this Sunday, Zero.
The Sustainable Earth System Association, Zero, is the partner for Portugal of the Life AskReach project, funded by the Life Program of the European Union (EU), led by the German Environmental Agency and involving 13 countries.
The main aim of the initiative is to raise awareness among citizens and businesses of “the need to be informed about the presence of dangerous chemicals in their products and to promote their substitution”, thereby enabling them to make responsible decisions, a Zero statement said.
Consumers will be able to use a smartphone application to obtain information about these substances or send inquiries to suppliers.
The environmental association explained that not all citizens are aware that some of the items purchased, such as clothing, footwear, furniture, construction materials and even books, “may not be as safe as they seem”.
The products may contain substances that are ‘Highly Concerned’ (SVHC), including ‘carcinogens, endocrine disrupters’ and elements that may affect the environment.
In addition to informing European citizens, the Life AskReach project aims to make industry and retailers aware of the presence of these substances by promoting their replacement.
The European Chemicals Regulation (REACH) states that if a substance classified as SVHC is present in an article with a concentration above 0.1%, that information must be communicated along the production and supply chain.
“Consumers also have the right to request this information and can use it to make informed decisions when they are going to purchase a product or article”, Zero said.
The association goes on to say that several large companies “have already expressed their support for the project and will be the first” to put their information in a database on the presence or absence of chemicals of high concern in their products.
Among the 20 partners of this project are entities whose main activity is related to this subject, research institutes, non-governmental environmental organizations and consumer organizations.