Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences
Overview and position on chemicals regulation

Dossiers - Chemicals regulation

Overview and position on chemicals regulation


Our industries Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences are subject to Switzerland's strict regulations on chemicals, which protect health and the environment. Exports to the EU must comply with specific rules. Current developments relating to the Green Deal may have negative consequences for our member companies if they are not implemented on a scientific basis. scienceindustries is committed to finding independent, pragmatic solutions to ensure the protection objectives are met.

The aim of Swiss chemicals legislation is to ensure a high level of protection for health and the environment while avoiding barriers to trade with the EU. The level of protection granted to the population and environment in Switzerland is comprehensively guaranteed by the legal principles in force today and is equal to the protection provided in the EU countries. Swiss chemicals legislation already includes mandatory registration of new substances, information requirements for substances of very high concern and an authorisation requirement as in the EU.

The Chemicals Act, the Chemicals Ordinance and the Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance enable Switzerland, in addition to its own considerations, to autonomously monitor the essential restrictions on the handling of chemicals introduced at European level under REACH. Should the use of other substances be restricted or even banned as part of REACH in the future due to their review in the EU, Switzerland can – as before – quickly and pragmatically implement this at regulatory level (e.g. in the Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance).

REACH affects companies in Switzerland

Switzerland’s chemical and pharmaceutical industry operates globally. Around 60% of the chemicals exported from Switzerland are sold in EU countries. All these exports must comply with the REACH requirements. REACH (Regulation (EC) 1907/2006) is an important element of chemicals legislation in the EU: the abbreviation stands for "Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals."

REACH, which entered into force on 1 June 2007, regulates the safe manufacture and use of chemicals in the EU and the European Economic Area. REACH is also intended to improve knowledge about the various properties of chemicals so that people and the environment can be better protected against potential risks when handling chemicals. Anyone who manufactures and/or markets chemicals as defined by REACH in the EU (e.g. by importing) must comply with the relevant provisions of the regulation.

EU Green Deal could have negative consequences for Switzerland

The EU now intends to implement the EU Green Deal and the "Chemical Strategy for Sustainability" (CSS) action plan contained therein, although the exact regulatory changes are only beginning to become apparent. However, it must be assumed that this represents the most fundamental change in chemicals legislation since the introduction of REACH. This upheaval could have severely negative consequences for Switzerland. However, it also offers opportunities for Switzerland as a production location, provided that the further development of Swiss chemicals legislation is carefully considered and adapted to domestic circumstances.

In particular, the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) aims to phase out the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the EU – unless their use is indispensable. In addition to scienceindustries, various other business associations such as economiesuisse, Swissmem and Swiss Textiles want to refrain from a complete ban on PFAS in Switzerland – they are demanding that the future PFAS regulation be based on current scientific studies.

Pragmatic solutions for our industries

scienceindustries is closely following the further development of Swiss chemicals legislation, in particular the Chemicals Ordinance in order to make a constructive contribution. Wherever it makes sense, we are committed to harmonising regulatory requirements in Switzerland as effectively as possible with the most important supply and sales markets, especially the EU. Where it does not make sense, we seek to develop independent, pragmatic solutions to ensure the protection objectives are met while still maintaining the greatest possible entrepreneurial freedom.


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