The Ministry of the Environment aims to generate knowledge of the risks posed by hazardous substances and to prevent such risks from causing any significant environmental or health hazards. The environmental hazards associated with chemicals can be mitigated through legislation (and financial instruments). Legislation is influenced by national objectives, EU law and a number of international agreements which Finland has signed, and whose goal is to reduce chemical hazards.
The Ministry of the Environment is the highest authority in charge of monitoring compliance with the Chemicals Act (and the provisions issued under it). It also directs the prevention and remediation of environmental damage caused by chemicals. The ministry is also responsible for international cooperation aimed at preventing environmental damage by chemicals.
Tasks of the authorities
The following authorities participate in managing the environmental risks posed by chemicals: the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) and municipal environmental protection authorities.
National Programme on Hazardous Chemicals
The goal of the National Programme on Hazardous Chemicals is to ensure that, by 2020, no chemicals are a source of significant health and environmental problems in Finland. This goal is in line with the UN's Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, adopted in 2012.
Under the National Programme on Hazardous Chemicals, an assessment has been performed of the harm caused by chemicals to consumers, public health, occupational health and the environment throughout the life-cycle of the chemical in question. The programme proposes risk management measures particularly aimed at social sectors and operations that have been neglected until now.
The key programme objectives are
- achieving the goals of the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (REACH), and benefitting from new information
- gathering information on and monitoring exposure to hazardous substances
- developing the assessment and management of the risks posed chemicals used by companies and other operators
- reducing the chemical risks posed by products
- contributing to the reduction of chemical-induced harm at international level
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