Consumer Protection: New Apps for Data on Hazardous Materials in Everyday Products

The German Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt: UBA) and the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V.: BUND) are offering consumers new apps. The software can be used to contact manufacturers for information on the presence of substances of very high concern (SVHC) in everyday products.

With the app from the UBA, Scan4Chem, users can scan the bar code of a product and automatically transmit a query to the supplier, who must fulfill the request within 45 days. A direct query about the contents, however, is enabled only if the information is stored in the related database.

That is already the case with the BUND app, ToxFox, although it is primarily geared to cosmetic products. According to BUND, ingredient information on more than 80,000 personal care products is available. The app is also optimized for children’s toys, and other product groups are to follow soon. But consumers can submit queries even if the system does not yet contain information about questionable contents. In such cases, BUND redirects the query to the manufacturer. And BUND also supplies handy user guide (in German only) for the app.

According to Article 33 Section 2 of REACH, manufacturers and importers are obligated to provide information as soon as the concentration of a critical substances in a product crosses the threshold of 0.1% by mass. The products and objects covered include household goods, textile, shoes, sporting equipment, furniture, home-improvement products, electric and electronic devices, vehicles, and packaging.

SVHC include substances that:

  • Are carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic to reproduction
  • Are poisonous and persistent and that concentrate in organisms
  • Have hormonal affects

These substances are new registered at ECHA 173 SVHC.

We are familiar with the laws surrounding the use of SVHC. Please contact us at

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