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Toxic chemicals – a hidden business risk

Anyone involved in the manufacturing, marketing, selling, transport and handling of products needs to be aware of the chemicals involved. First and foremost, chemical ignorance can cause harm to your workers, consumers and the environment. But it also poses a financial threat to your business. Many companies have been the targets of litigation, product recalls and damaged brand reputations because they haven’t considered the impact of chemicals closely enough. For example, toy maker Matell recalled almost one million toys from the US market because they were covered with lead paint, and electronic giant Sony had to recall Playstation due to illegal cadmium concentrations.

Ignorance also means a risk of breaching regulations; such as construction company Skanska’s use of the neurotoxic substance acrylamide in the construction of a tunnel. Toxic chemicals are subject to increasing legal requirements and non-compliance can cause severe disturbances in production processes. If an unacceptable toxic ingredient needs to be eliminated, it may cause shortage of supply. In severe cases, non-compliance could lead to prosecution.