Chemicals play an intrinsic part in modern living and SEPA has a role to reduce and prevent unintended environmental consequences including impacts on biodiversity, air, land and water environment, and the direct impacts on health.
The chemical manufacturing sector produces a huge range of products, many of which support other industries. These chemicals include pesticides, cleaning agents, acids, lubricants, cosmetics, medical diagnostic, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Some chemical products are specifically helping other sectors to decarbonise, for example providing coatings for solar panels, lightweight plastics to reduce transport impacts and insulating materials. The benefits of chemicals are significant, but the unintended environmental consequences, including contributing to global warming and release of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), impacts on biodiversity and the water environment, and the direct impacts on health of chemical use in society are apparent.
It is our vision that the manufacturing, importing, marketing, use, storage and management of chemicals is undertaken in a way that prevents harm to people and the environment now and in the future and in a way that supports a circular economy.
Our Chemical Framework sets out this vision and what our aims will be to facilitate a more efficient, effective, and joined-up approach to our work in this area. Having a strong understanding and approach will help ensure that we can work with communities, businesses and industry, academia and other public bodies to facilitate the development and use of those chemicals that support:
- the precautionary principle
- energy and resource-efficient technologies, materials and products,
- the move away from those chemicals with the most hazardous properties that can cause harm to human health and the environment.