To produce steel, raw materials are required in the form of iron ore, coal, limestone (to form slag), alloying metals as well as fossil fuels. Other chemical products used are gases, oils and acids (pickling steel surfaces). 

The steel industry works to monitor and, to a certain extent, influence the development of the national and European chemical legislation.

REACH - EU’s Chemicals Regulation

The issue of the use and handling of chemicals is dominated by the EU’s regulation for chemicals handling, REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) which entered into force in June 2007. The purpose with REACH is to "guarantee a high level of protection for people’s health and the environment".

This Regulation means that all chemical substances that are produced and marketed (>1 tonne/year) must be risk assessed. For the steel and metals industry, it is the raw materials that are mainly affected, e.g. the alloying elements.

The steel industry in Sweden co-ordinates its work with other European companies, for example through Eurofer, the European steel industry’s trade association. This may, for example, involve interpreting correctly the Regulation in order to be able to implement it in practice in areas that affect the steel industry (e.g. for iron ore pellets, sinter, alloys or in areas such as the demarcation between different chemicals and preparations). The Nordic steel industry also collaborates with the European steel industry in respect of registration of ferrous slags.

Steel industry waste, which is defined as a national issue, is not covered by the REACH Regulation. Exemptions from registration presently include iron ore and iron ore concentrate, process gases, coal and coke, but no exception is made for iron in the Regulation.

Read more about REACH (

Our standpoints concerning REACH

  • The application of REACH in Sweden, to the greatest possible extent, should be harmonised with other EU member states and should not lead to stricter requirements than for other member countries.
  • Simplification of Regulations concept should be applied also where REACH is concerned.

  • REACH shall lead to real environmental improvements e.g. in the form of safer chemicals handling but not to a doubling of the workload and unreasonable costs for Sweden’s trade and industry.

National action plan for a non-toxic environment

At the national level, the government’s initiative to further develop an action plan for a toxin-free everyday environment continues. The work continues up to 2017. The overriding purpose is to achieve the environmental quality objective of a non-toxic everyday environment and the Swedish Chemicals Agency is responsible for this work.
Read more about the action plan for a non-toxic everyday environment (