How to protect yourself from the dangerous chemicals in products of daily use

Dec 14, 2022

How to check which products contain harmful chemicals? What market inspectors are required to do? How should end consumers behave and what should they pay attention to while shopping? All of this questions were answered at the lecture “Dangerous chemicals in products of daily use” held by representatives of ALHem organisation from Belgrade. The event was organised by the Center for Environment on Saturday, December the 3rd2022, in Banja Luka.

The introductory lecture “Living healthy in the world of chemicals” was presented by Jasminka Ranđelović, Master of Biochemical Sciences. She explained what impact chemicals have on human health and the environment, and in particular referred to legal frameworks and provisions, both in Serbia, where the research was conducted, and in BiH.

“The timely transposition of EU regulations into the national legislation is essential in order to avoid situations where our domestic market becomes a market for products prohibited in the European Union.” pointed out M.Sc. Ranđelović.

The next lecture was held by Jelena Milić, PhD of biochemical sciences, which focused on dangerous chemicals in the environment, and how every consumer can recognise them and choose safer alternatives. When it comes to chemical products (household chemistry, paints and varnishes, etc.), Dr. Milić recommended citizens to always read the labels of chemical products and to follow the instructions for use and precautions prescribed by the manufacturer.

In addition to reading labels, another option available to consumers is an application developed by the ALHem organisation, which has been a great success and has influenced public opinion and institutions in Serbia and the region. The Scan4Chem application allows consumers to find out if the product they are interested in contains harmful substances by scanning the barcode. The scan sends a request for information about substances of concern in the product. The application is free and available in 18 European countries.

Visitors also had the opportunity to see tested products containing illegal amounts of phthalates on the spot. These substances are most often used as plastic softeners (plasticizers), and have been proven to have reproductive toxicity properties (they can be harmful to fertility and the fetus), and can cause disturbances in the function of the hormonal system (endocrine system).

ALHem representatives Jasminka and Jelena, besides holding a lecture, also shared the story about chemicals in the Center for Environment Podcast, so that wider range of public can get acquainted with this very important topic.

This activity was organised as part of the SEENET regional project for support of the network, which is realised thanks to the support of the organisation CCFD-Terre Solidaire.