Many of our chemical products have intrinsic hazardous properties. Therefore, we are working to minimize the potential risks to both human health and the environment that arise from their use. We continuously strive to improve the safety of our products and reduce the environmental impact of our businesses through innovative solutions and digital communication tools.
Our approach to safe chemical products
Product safety is one of our top priorities. During the product development phase, we investigate the potential adverse impacts of chemical substances. Along the entire value chain of our products – from raw materials to manufacture and commercialization – we provide relevant information on their hazardous properties and how to deal with them. These instructions facilitate the safe handling and use of our products in line with all regulatory requirements. We publish this information primarily on the relevant digital channels. As paper safety data sheets are still common in some countries, we can also provide these upon request through our customer service.
We support the implementation of the European Green Deal and are preparing to integrate the relevant chemicals sustainability aspects into our business strategies. We are currently developing a portfolio sustainability assessment framework for our Electronics and Life Science business sectors and are preparing to test its suitability and practicability in pilot projects.
Roles and responsibilities
Our Life Science, Healthcare and Electronics business sectors have organizational structures to implement our product safety strategy in line with their respective business requirements and customer needs. This approach includes registering chemicals, classifying hazardous substances, and highlighting risks using safety data sheets, labels and digital communication tools.
Our Group standards provide a framework for governing the set-up of effective operational processes for product safety, hazard communication and chemicals regulatory compliance throughout our business sectors. In addition, the Group Chemicals Regulations Council fosters cross-sectoral alignment of strategic regulatory activities required for existing and emerging chemicals regulations as well as sustainability and identifies potential impacts for our company.
This approach also applies to innovative fields of development such as nanomaterials, which we use with the greatest of care in line with the precautionary principle. Furthermore, our Group-wide Policy for Use and Handling of Nanomaterials provides the necessary guidance on the use of these materials.
Legal requirements and internal guidelines
Our internal guidelines define the roles, responsibilities and basic processes required to comply with national and international regulations. In addition, we have also endorsed voluntary commitments of the chemical industry such as the Responsible Care® Global Charter.
The legal requirements relevant to compliance with chemicals regulations are mainly related to hazard communication as well as local and regional chemicals registration activities. These requirements are expanding globally, with a growing number of countries adapting their local rules in line with existing regulatory frameworks such as REACH. We are well placed to comply with regulations of this kind in important markets, such as China, India, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Using the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) for hazard communication allows us to streamline our internal processes and provide consistent, harmonized and high-quality information to our customers.
Our worldwide network of regulatory experts in all three business sectors continuously monitors changes to legal requirements and scientific developments to stay ahead of trends and best practices.
In 2022, there were no incidents of non-compliance with regulations specifically concerning potential health and safety impacts and the labeling of our chemical products.
Safety analysis of our products
Safe and sustainable by design implies that product safety starts during development. Therefore, at an early stage of our product development process, we analyze innovations in terms of their impacts on human health and the environment. We continuously evaluate the intrinsic hazards of both our existing and new products to create relevant product safety information in line with all applicable rules.
Product safety information
Chemical product safety is all about protecting human health and the environment from adverse impacts resulting from the use of chemical products throughout their life cycle. To achieve this, we provide all relevant information to our customers and the public, which helps to raise awareness of the hazards and build a greater understanding of how to mitigate risks and use the products safely.
To obtain all the relevant information on hazard profiles, we employ industry-standard digital tools that gather all information available on the substances we use. We then cross-reference this data with local and regional rules to establish the relevant hazard classifications. We publish this information digitally on country-specific safety data sheets in multiple languages and on the labels of our products. The data sheets are maintained electronically and updated if there are relevant changes. We have automated and standardized most of our hazard communication processes.
For products with little available information, we are investigating the feasibility of using alternative predictive non-animal testing methods, such as read-across and (Q)SAR. For third-party products, we expect robust product safety documentation from our suppliers, which we feed into our processes or share directly with our customers.
Helping customers access safety information
We employ the latest digital tools and continuously explore new technologies to share information with our product users.
Our Life Science customers and all interested stakeholders can access product safety information in their respective language and according to country-specific regulations through a dedicated mobile app called My M Safety (Android and iOS). Customers can retrieve this information by scanning a barcode on the product label or entering identifiers such as material numbers, names or CAS numbers.
Through our ScIDeEx™ web tool, anyone can check whether using a particular chemical is safe within the boundaries specified in the EU REACH exposure scenarios. ScIDeEx™ is based on a full implementation of the ECETOC TRA 3 model for human exposure assessments in industrial and professional settings.