Clear Summaries of Scientific Reports on

Chemical substances

Substances we take in through food and water or through the air we breathe may influence our health.

Acrylamide in food

Acrylamide can be formed in many fried and baked food products. Is there a risk to health? More...

Latest update: 10 March 2017

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr] [nl

Allergenic fragrances

Fragrance ingredients are used in consumer goods to give them a specific, usually pleasant smell. They can sometimes cause skin irritations or allergic reactions.

Is the list of fragrance substances that have to be identified on consumer products sufficient, or are there more that should be added to the list? More...

Latest update: 30 September 2013

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Animal testing

Evaluating the safety of chemicals most often requires the use of tests on animals.

However, there is a strong push towards the use of alternative methods. What are these alternatives and are they effective? More...

Latest update: 20 May 2018

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr] [nl


Toys may be manufactured from materials containing chromium VI. Are toys containing chromium VI safe for children? More...

Latest update: 4 March 2015

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr


Arsenic is a poisonous substance, which is released both from certain human activities and naturally from the earth's crust. Humans may be exposed to arsenic mainly through food and water. To what extent can arsenic exposure affect human health or the environment? More...

Latest update: 15 December 2004

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


Aspartame is one of the most widely used artificial sweetener, is it safe? More...

Latest update: 28 March 2017

Summary available in [en] [fr


Biosecurity is concerned with animal and plant diseases, invasive species, the transmission of diseases from livestock to humans, and the effect that all of these can have of health and the environment. How can it be ensured through an integrated approach? More...

Latest update: 16 December 2019

Summary available in [en] [fr

Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to produce certain plastics such as polycarbonates, and epoxy resins.

Is exposure to BPA via medical devices safe? Are there any risks? More...

Latest update: 24 June 2015

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr


Boron is a naturally occurring element used in products such as fibreglass, detergents, agricultural fertilizers and herbicides. Could it affect my health? Under what conditions could it be beneficial or harmful to the environment? More...

Latest update: 15 December 2004

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


How does cadmium affect human health and the environment? More...

Latest update: 10 January 2015

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Chlorine Sodium Hypochlorite

Chlorine and sodium hypochlorite are widely used for disinfection and bleaching, among other things to disinfect drinking water. It appears that the usage guidelines recommend since several years are still adequate in 2017. More...

Latest update: 5 May 2017

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr

Phthalates Comparison

The aim of this peer reviewed comparison is to put in perspective the potential dangers and risks of four phthalates used mainly as plasticizers in PVC applications and help the non specialist reader to make its opinion in these matters. More...

Latest update: 30 August 2013

Summary available in [en] [fr

Endocrine disrupting properties of pesticides

The european regulations on pesticides have brought forward a debate on the concepts of risk and hazard in this particular context. More...

Latest update: 28 June 2016

Summary available in [en] [fr


Diethylhexyl-phthalate (DEHP) is a widely used plastic additive.

Its widespread use in everyday and medical products has raised some concerns about its safety. Does it pose a risk to health or the environment? More...

Latest update: 17 July 2012

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


Dioxins are mainly released by human activities such as incineration and fuel combustion. Some dioxins and some "dioxin-like" PCBs are known to be harmful. In 2008, the facts summarised by GreenFacts are still considered a valid reference. More...

Latest update: 15 August 2004

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


There is concern that this widespread use of biocides, such as disinfectants, preservatives and antiseptics, may lead to the emergence or proliferation of harmful bacteria that are resistant to both biocides and antibiotics.

In the light of current scientific evidence, can biocides lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria? More...

Latest update: 8 October 2009

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Endocrine Disruptors

Some chemicals, both natural and man-made, can interfere with the hormonal system.

Have endocrine disruptors affected wild life and our hormonal system? How much is known so far? More...

Latest update: 15 March 2004

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr] [nl

Endocrine disruptors risks

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can influence the functioning of the system of hormones and receptors that regulate the body.

What are the risks associated with those chemicals? More...

Latest update: 1 May 2015

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr] [nl

Chemical Mixtures

There is increasing concern in the general public about the potential toxic effects of chemical substance mixtures (in the media often referred to as “cocktail-effects”). More...

Latest update: 17 June 2014

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Exposure to chemical mixtures

Organisms, including humans, are exposed to mixtures of chemicals rather than to isolated, single compounds. Yet the safety of chemicals is usually assessed compound per compound.

But how to evaluate the risk of multiple possible combinations of chemicals when present in a mixture? More...

Latest update: 21 August 2019

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr] [nl


Food and drinking water typically contain at least small amounts of fluorides. Fluorides are commonly added to dental products – and sometimes to tap water – to prevent cavities. Under what conditions can fluoride exposure be beneficial or detrimental to human health? More...

Latest update: 15 April 2005

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Glyphosate and cancer

What explains such a difference in the classification of glyphosate between the evaluations conducted by IARC and EFSA? More...

Latest update: 24 April 2016

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr] [it] [nl

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

PFOA is a compound used in the production of materials with water- or oil-repellant properties, such as waterproof fabrics and non-stick cookware. Is its presence in finished products a risk? More...

Latest update: 31 March 2017

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr] [it] [nl

Marine Litter

The global production of plastics is increasing, and that increase is accompanied by an increase in plastic waste.

Part of this waste makes its way into the marine environment in the form of micro-plastics. What do we know about the extent of this problem? More...

Latest update: 15 March 2013

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr


Mercury is a heavy metal which is known to be highly toxic. Though mercury occurs naturally in the environment it is now mainly released by human activities. Are humans and the environment at risk? More...

Latest update: 15 November 2004

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Evaluation of endocrine disruptors

Some chemicals can interact with the endocrine system and cause health problems. These 'endocrine disruptors' are difficult to evaluate in terms of health risks.

Are current methods adequate? More...

Latest update: 30 August 2013

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Methylene glycol

Is the use of methylene glycol in hair straightening products safe? More...

Latest update: 30 September 2013

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr


Do neonicotinoid pesticides have an effect on services provided by ecosystems? More...

Latest update: 8 March 2016

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Aluminium exposure

Aluminium is widely used in food packaging, appliances, as part of food additives, cosmetics, etc.

Does it pose a health risk? More...

Latest update: 24 February 2017

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were widely used in the past, mainly in electrical equipment. Because these compounds are generally very stable, they remain present in the environment today. What are the health risks associated with PCBs? More...

Latest update: 15 September 2006

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


Fragrance ingredients are used in consumer goods to give them a specific, usually pleasant smell. They can sometimes cause skin irritations or allergic reactions.

Is the list of fragrance substances that have to be identified on consumer products sufficient, or are there more that should be added to the list? More...

Latest update: 15 June 2013

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Pesticides occupational risks

We review the scientific literature regarding the health risks associated with occupational exposure to pesticides. More...

Latest update: 7 June 2016

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


DBP is mainly used in PVC and other plastics. Other applications besides inks, paints and adhesives, include nail polish, perfumes, sealants, and lubricants.
Main conclusions: At some industrial sites, exposure of workers and emissions to air should be reduced More...

Latest update: 15 December 2005

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr


DIDP and DINP are two very similar phthalates. They are mainly used in PVC and other plastics, but also in some inks, paints and adhesives.
Main conclusions: DIDP in toys may pose a risk; more research may be needed on the environmental effects of DIDP and DINP. More...

Latest update: 15 December 2005

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Phthalates in school supplies

Some school supplies, such as erasers, contain phthalates – substances that are added to plastics to make them soft.

Can regularly chewing on such articles cause harmful health effects? More...

Latest update: 8 June 2009

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Poly brominated flame retardant decaBDE

Flame retardants are used in the production of many fabrics, plastics and other materials to make them more resistant to catching fire. Among these products, is decaBDE, widely used, safe to use? More...

Latest update: 23 March 2017

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr

Aspirin & Cancer

Various extracts on aspirin from the World Cancer Report 2020 indicate that aspirin may have important preventive effects on various forms of cancer, which are highlighted here. More...

Latest update: 2 April 2021

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr] [nl

Substitution of harmful chemicals

What are the challenges that are posed by this substitution process ? More...

Latest update: 30 April 2016

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr] [nl

Accidental poisoning

Some consumer products are packaged to imitate food or appeal to children. This is for instance the case of certain shower gels, liquid soaps and dish-washing liquids. It is likely that these could be swallowed if confused with food.

Who runs the greatest risk and what increases the likelihood of serious poisoning? More...

Latest update: 20 March 2012

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Marine litter

Plastic waste is a growing issue: plastic production is projected to double over the next decade, and without a planning for the effective management of waste, the social, economic and environmental impact is also projected to increase.


Latest update: 15 February 2019

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr] [nl

Hazardous chemicals

What can be done to reduce the effects of exposure to harmful chemicals? More...

Latest update: 15 October 2018

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr

Sulfaxoflor Pesticide

Sulfoxaflor is a new insecticide active ingredient that was recently registered for approval. It has been developed subsequent to the restrictions of use of neonicotinoids1, partly because of their effects on honey bees. Is this new molecule safe? More...

Latest update: 26 April 2019

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr


Cancer burden is rising globally, what can be done to prevent a further increase? What are the strategies that can be used for cancer prevention and early detection? More...

Latest update: 24 March 2020

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr] [nl


The most comprehensive, up-to-date science on cancer prevention, including statistics, causes, mechanisms and early prevention. More...

Latest update: 23 March 2020

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr

Pharmaceuticals environment

The pollution of the various compartments of the environment (water, soil and air) with pharmaceutical residues is an environmental concern More...

Latest update: 26 March 2015

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Epidemic diseases

Key steps taken by an intercountry meeting organised by the WHO in 2019 to strengthen regional and national capacity to detect, verify and control emerging infectious diseases with epidemic and pandemic potential. More...

Latest update: 20 April 2021

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr


Pollution is everywhere. Contaminants coming from human activity are found in the most remote reaches of the planet.

How can we ensure that the planet doesn’t degrade further? More...

Latest update: 19 December 2017

Summary available in [de] [en] [fr


Triclosan is added to many consumer goods such as cosmetics and detergents to kill microorganisms or inhibit their growth. It is a widely used disinfectant, and there is concern that this widespread use may lead to the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to both biocides and antibiotics.

Can triclosan lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria? More...

Latest update: 17 October 2011

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Water Disinfectants

To protect drinking water against germs and fight disease transmitted through water, disinfectants such as chlorine, chloramines, ozone and chlorine dioxide are used.

Unwanted by-products can be formed, which raise health concerns. More...

Latest update: 15 August 2004

Summary available in [en] [es] [fr

Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is a white powder which is widely used in a variety of applications, one of which being in cosmetic products as a UV filter. New technologies have recently allowed the use of nano- sized zinc oxide particles.

Are these different to conventional zinc oxide in terms of physical and chemical properties and toxicity? More...

Latest update: 30 September 2013

Summary available in [de] [en] [es] [fr

Themes covered
Publications A-Z

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