Providing the EU with science

Together with scientists from Stockholm University we at the Baltic Sea Centre have, during the past months, informed relevant actors about science’s policy recommendations for achieving a smarter and safer chemical management.

After examining the new strategy, our experts are hopeful that the strategy will in the long-term lead to a better marine environment. Read six of our scientists´comments on the strategy in a new article in the web magazine Baltic Eye.

Experts seem hopeful   

- I am actually excited, says Christina Rudén, Professor at the Department of Environmental Science (ACES). It addresses many of the important changes the scientific community has asked for, for a very long time. Now it is important to keep the pressure to stop the strategy from being weakened during the long  process of filling it with content.

Hanna Sjölund, policy expert at the Baltic Sea Centre. 

The past months work to gather the most relevant science and collecting comments from all relevant experts from different departments has been under the lead and important support from the policy expert Hanna Sjölund at the Baltic Sea Centre.

- Statements and comments like these are not very common from the scientific community, says Hanna Sjölund. Usually the corporate lobby and the NGOs act fast, but the scientific community lags behind, thereby missing several opportunities to influence important policy processes.

To bridge the gap between science and policy 

Tina Elfwing, Director at the Baltic Sea Centre.

With further expertise in communication the recommendations were portioned out to gain momentum prior to the strategy's release date. The communication efforts also quickly turned the researchers`comments into an interesting article, highlighting the most important statements in the strategy, and also pointing out some of the possible weaknesses.

The Baltic Sea Centre has the assignment to support and strengthen the University´s significant marine research. Acting as a link between science and policy, we synthesise and distribute scientific results to the right stakeholders in society. 

- This is an excellent example of how our work is carried out; we provide scientific knowledge in an appropriate format to those who need it - at the right time, says Tina Elfwing, Director of the Baltic Sea Centre. And by combining expertise in both policy and communication this type of work can make a real difference. 

Policy brief, films and illustrations 

By producing and publishing various types of material, such as letters, printed material and social media posts, the campaign has reached several different stakeholders. 

In this film, Professor Christina Rudén at Stockholm University Department of Environmental Science explains why it is time for smarter and safer chemical risk management:


"Science is clear: The toxicity of the mixture is bigger than if we look at each chemical at a time."

Policy recommendations:

  • Establish consistent requirements for mixture risk assessments in all pieces of chemical legislation. Without such requirements, effective protection against risks from exposure to mixtures will not occur.

  • Establish crosscutting European legislation on chemical pollution with a focus on mixture risks. Chemical mixtures cannot be fully evaluated and managed by sectorial pieces of legislation.
  • Strengthen the mandate in REACH to manage groups of chemicals to avoid regrettable substitution. Grouping will also contribute to increase efficiency and to reduce mixture risks.
  • Improve mixture risk assessment and grouping of substances in the context of European water management. The directive is recipient-oriented and in principle should be able identify and undertake measures against chemical pollution created by chemical mixtures.


The European Commission presents the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. 

The scientists´comments on the Strategy

the European Commission adopted the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability

Our Policy Brief on this subject: Time for smarter and safer chemical management.

Another Policy Brief on a similar subject: European chemicals regulation needs greater transparency

Future chemical risk management. A report to the Government Offices of Sweden, Ministry of the Environment, SOU 2019:45

Baltic Sea Centre's consultation reply on the roadmap for the new EU Chemical Strategy

See the animation on the imprtance of group-wise assessment of chemicals.  


Illustration: Robert Kautsky/Azote


When assessed in isolation each substance is not considered a risk at the level it is found in the environment but when the mixture of chemicals is considered, it poses an actual danger to our marine systems as well as human health. 


Illustration: Robert Kautsky/Azote


Organising chemicals with similar molecular structure, hazard, risk, or function into well-defined groups helps to reduce the complexity of chemical risk assessment and management.