A new method provides safer assessments of endocrine disruptors in construction products!

2020-11-19

published by IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet – 2020-11-17

IVL’s subsidiary Basta is now presenting the next step in the work on/towards a non-toxic construction. Together with other players in the construction industry, Basta has developed a method that will give a safer and better grasp on endocrine disruptors in construction products.

Endocrine disruptors are a controversial group and the mechanisms for how they affect us are complex. This have made substitution work difficult to manage, both from a scientific perspective and from a legal point of view. The question of which substances should be considered as endocrine disruptors dragged on and on in the EU before a definition was finally agreed upon in 2018.

–For Basta, the EU decision represented a major step forward. Especially since we then could introduce the legaslative definition of endocrine disruptors as a criterion in our system of building- and construction products, says Sussi Wetterlin, CEO of Basta.

Basta’s database is one of the largest in the industry with more than 160,000 articles.

Now, Basta presents the next step in the development. In a project together with actors in the construction industry and Basta’s Scientific Council, Basta has developed criteria for endocrine disruptors in construction products. The work has resulted in an innovative method, with clear and transparent steps that are documented in a guide.

– Until now, we have based our criteria solely on lists, which has led to a lot of criticism. However, now the industry have a better and safer method to identifying endocrine disruptors, says Sussi Wetterlin.

Based on three steps

The method is based on three steps: the EU definition of endocrine disruptors used in the model on construction products, an “indicator step” that limits the substances that are suspected endocrine disruptors and which are listed on three recognized, well-founded and solid lists and corporate/companies’ investigations, where they must have assumed a far-reaching responsibility for their products and they need to demonstrate that they are not endocrine disruptors according to the legislation in REACH. In addition, producers are given the opportunity to supplement with substance specific information.

By taking in and collecting information from all actors, we get a breadth in the assessment about what is a safe product. It also means that we can be quick and capture new knowledge as soon as it develops/arrives, which is very important in an area where development takes place so quickly, says Sussi Wetterlin.

In cases where producers apply for an exemption for their product, Basta makes an evaluation before the substance is authorised for use in Basta-listed products. The approval is limited in time and the products are clearly labelled in the Basta system.

– By clearly showing which substances and products are covered by the exemption, we ensure clear and transparent information. This makes it easy and clear to meet the requirements for certifications and to make conscious product choices, says Sussi Wetterlin.

The project has been carried out together with “Golvbranschens Riksorganisation”, “Sveriges Byggindustrier”, “Byggmaterialindustriererna”, “Sveriges Färg och Lim Företagare“and “Substitutioncenter”.

– We see the introduction of endocrine disruptors in the assessment of construction products as an important step forward. Construction products contain many substances that are classified as hazardous and the content can affect humans and the environment in several stages of the material’s life cycle. The recently launched EU chemicals strategy also highlights the need to substitute endocrine disruptors and tools that the industry can use in this work, says Tonie Wickman from the Substitution Centre, who has been part of the reference group.

For further information contact:
Sussi Wetterlin, sussi.wetterlin@ivl.se, tel. 010-788 66 82
Josefina, josefina.hellstrom@ivl.se, tel. 010-788 68 61