40 different chemicals are regulated within the EU Water Framework Directive. That is a fraction of all chemical substances currently used in our society. Currently the EU regulation REACH has 148 000 pre-registered substances. New chemicals are also continuously being developed for different purposes. In order to create a better overview of this large amount of chemicals, Solutions, a European research project, is working to provide data for risk assessment and policy advice.
There is great concern that chemical substances can compromise our water resources, and despite great efforts to protect Europe's rivers, lakes and coastal waters, the trend is in many places moving in the opposite direction.
It has become a pressing issue to better control the torrent of chemicals in our environment. The five year long European Union program Solutions will develop a framework for how we should handle chemicals currently in circulation. IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute is one of 39 partners that have been asked to develop concepts for future risk assessments and regulations for chemicals.
IVL are analysing the potential synergies among the many EU directives concerning chemicals and developing tools that will enable us to better identify possible actions. A major challenge is to connect use and disposal to possible measures, all within existing legislation. In addition to the Water Framework Directive and REACH there are several other directives and conventions covering chemicals in various ways, among those pesticides, toys, electronics and hazardous waste.
The program is aimed towards policy makers and authorities at both European and national level by supplying specific guidelines and tools for decision support. The other research groups within Solutions are working with development of methods for chemical analysis and biological tests, distribution models and risk assessment and also evaluation and actions for wastewater treatment and substitution. The Solutions program is financed by EU's Seventh Framework Programme.