Background of the LOUS project

The LOUS project has provided better knowledge about the 40 substances and substance groups on the list, so that the Danish EPA can decide whether to limit the use of substances or to replace them with better alternatives. The results were developed in close collaboration with other agencies, authorities, businesses and organisations.

The fourth and most recent List of Undesirable Substances was launched in 2009. The 40 substances and substance groups were selected because they all had undesirable properties with regard to human health or the environment, and because in 2009 they were being used in Denmark in amounts exceeding 100 tonnes a year.

The basis of LOUS 2009 is the Danish EPA's List of Effects. The List of Effects contains all substances which fulfil the criteria set regarding hazardous properties. However, the list does not consider the substances' use or non-use in Denmark. The List of Effects contains about 19,500 chemical substances.

There is a wide overlap between the criteria for inclusion in LOUS and the criteria for inclusion in the Candidate List under the EU chemicals legislation (REACH).

All substances have been through the same process

In 2012, the Danish Finance Act earmarked DKK 48 mill. over four years to review and examine all 40 substances and substance groups on the list. All 40 substances and substance groups have been through the same process.

For about 25% of the 40 substances and substance groups, the strategy concludes that there is no need to take further steps other than sharing knowledge from the surveys with other countries. This is either because, on closer examination, the substances turned out not to pose a risk to human health or the environment, the substances are already subject to adequate regulation, or they are about to be assessed in other contexts, or because Danish consumption has fallen significantly since 2009. A number of measures have been implemented for the remaining substances and substance groups in order to address the challenges identified.

Broad cooperation and new methods

In the LOUS project, the Danish EPA worked closely with stakeholders from other agencies, consumer organisations, environmental organisations, sector organisations, interested businesses and a number of other EU Member States. Throughout the project, processes have been transparent and have involved all stakeholders, who have regularly contributed input to the work. The LOUS project has also developed an effective method to assess substances of concern and the possibility to explore new measures to address these substances, which could be useful in the continued chemicals initiatives.

The LOUS project was evaluated by the consultancy firm Rambøll in 2015. The conclusions from the evaluation indicate high-quality work, both regarding the technical content and the process-related result. Read the report from Rambøll here (in Danish but abstract in English). 

Consultation with a wide circle of stakeholders

Prior to publication, the list was submitted for consultation with a wide circle of stakeholders. See consultation memo with comments to the list and the response from the Danish EPA here (in Danish).

The project divided the 40 substances and substance groups into four pools, and all the survey reports and strategies were submitted for technical consultation in equal pools according to their continuous number in the project (see table at the status page).