Chemicals are all around us, from natural chemicals in food to industrially produced ones, distributed by trade and by long-range transport of pollutants, found in working surrounding, environment and consumers’ products. They may ease our everyday life but at the same time cause allergies, have effects on the reproductive system or show carcinogenic, teratogenic or chronic toxic effects. Therefore the management of chemicals risks is one of the high priority issues on European and international levels. A large number of European directives as well as international agreements are available as tools for the reduction of risks posed by chemicals. This is inevitably a complex field demanding great resources as well as very good cooperation from public institutions and the industry.
Especially industrial companies are a potential source of environmental problems and rather often it needs good convincing skills that environmental costs should not externalised and that win-win solutions are possible. Apart from that, it is of course indispensable that binding legal standards on national and international level are met by the companies. Continuous awareness and knowledge raising, know-how exchange, capacity building and initiating a dialogue between state authorities, the industry, trade and consumers is one of the priority issues within the BEF. Workshops, meetings and trainings contribute to our aim of minimizing the environmental burden posed by chemicals and industrial pollutants.