What are solvents ?
Solvents are substances that are used to dissolve, suspend, or extract other substances. They are used in a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, cleaning, and manufacturing. In Europe, the use of solvents is regulated by a number of laws and directives, which aim to protect human health and the environment.
One important piece of legislation is the Solvents Directive (2008/68/EC), which sets limits on the use of certain hazardous solvents in certain industrial processes. The Directive aims to reduce the risk of exposure to hazardous solvents by limiting their use in processes such as printing, coating, and surface cleaning. There are many different types of solvents, each with its own unique properties. Water, for example, is a polar solvent that is able to dissolve polar substances such as salt. Alcohols, like ethanol and isopropyl alcohol, are also polar solvents that can dissolve both polar and nonpolar substances. Nonpolar solvents, such as benzene and toluene, are better at dissolving nonpolar substances.
Another important piece of legislation is the REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), which aims to ensure the safe use of chemicals in the European Union (EU). Under REACH, companies that manufacture or import chemicals, including solvents, into the EU must register the substances with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). This allows authorities to assess the risks posed by the substances and take appropriate action to protect human health and the environment.
In addition to these laws, the EU has also established a list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs), which includes solvents that are known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction. Companies that use these substances in their products must inform consumers about their presence and provide information on how to safely use and dispose of the products.
Overall, the use of solvents in Europe is regulated by a number of laws and directives that aim to protect human health and the environment. These regulations help to ensure that solvents are used safely and responsibly, and help to minimize the risks associated with their use.