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Biobased alternatives for dangerous chemicals

Biobased alternatieven voor prioritaire stoffen : Een verkennende studie

Synopsis

The Dutch government focuses on banning the most dangerous chemicals before 2030 and replace them by cleaner and less dangerous alternatives (priority chemicals policy). One possibility is to use biomass of plants and animals to produce so-called biobased chemicals. It is expected that even a number of carcinogenic substances can be replaced by those biobased alternatives. Biobased chemicals These biobased chemicals will be further developed in the near future. RIVM has explored which alternatives are already present and listed tens of biobased substances. This list is, however, not exhaustive. In addition, a survey is made of methods to assess health and safety risks for man and environment, but also if the production and use of a chemical is sustainable. Not every biobased substance is less dangerous or more sustainable than a petrobased substance. Biobased substances can be toxic, or much land or water can be needed to grow the raw materials. Assessment methods The current assessment methods were shown to be diverse and often complicated. It is needed to develop a transparent and usable method for selecting the best option. Policy preferences can be added, for example, to either stimulate or discourage the use of specific raw materials. Regulation Although a 'hard' definition of biobased chemicals is still lacking, it is clear that they should comply with the current, legal health and safety criteria for chemicals. In practice, it shows that there can be confusion about the registration, classification and labelling, and risk assessment of biobased chemicals. RIVM elucidates the interpretation of some of these legal aspects. The current policy frameworks on substances mainly focus on health and safety assessment, although REACH also targets on innovation. The movement towards innovative biobased chemicals asks for more attention on sustainability aspects. An integrated approach results in a more comprehensive picture of the pros and cons of substances. RIVM states that such an assessment is needed for all, not only biobased, chemicals.
 

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