Defra's chemicals pages are a source of information on what the Government is doing to protect the environment - and, consequently, human health - from the risks posed by exposure to hazardous chemicals. At the same time, the Government aims to maximise the important socio-economic benefits that we rely on chemicals for.
Whether a chemical represents a hazard or not depends on its scientific properties. Defra's job is to manage the risks relating to such hazards, that is, the chances of a hazard leading to the harm of humans or the environment.
The chemicals we use are not just found in laboratories. They are all around us on an everyday basis. As well as occurring throughout nature, chemicals are in our clothes, our food and are built into our homes. This is why the successful control of the use of chemicals is such an important goal..
News and developments
- 11 March 2009: Annual Report for 2008 on the UK Toxic Organic Micro-pollutants (TOMPs) Air Monitoring and Analysis Network: This report contains the 2008 ambient air concentration data for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs)
- 16 September 2009: Consultation on the UK Enforcement of an EC Regulation banning the export of metallic mercury and certain mercury compounds and mixtures, and the safe storage metallic mercury
- 5 August 2009 - Report published on the ‘Review and Update of the UK Source Inventories of Dioxins, Dioxin Like Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Hexachlorobenzene for Emissions to Air, Water and Land’
The Government works with UK stakeholders to develop solutions that can be applied, at national level, to reduce the risk of chemicals damaging the environment. See our UK Chemicals Policy section.
Defra have an ongoing chemicals research programme carried out by external contractors. For more information, please visit specific chemicals issues, where a link to Defra's chemicals Consultancy Programme may be found.
The effect of chemicals on health and the environment is also very much a European and worldwide issue. The Government is very much involved in these areas:
- Defra's chemicals consultancy programme
- specific information about relevant chemicals on other areas of our website - for example air, water (water quality)
- information concerning pesticides
- UK Coordinated Chemical Risk Management Programme
If you want further information about chemicals that is not covered by these pages, you can contact us by email at:
Page last modified: 11 March 2010