Pharmacokinetics, sometimes abbreviated as PK, is a branch of pharmacology dedicated to determine the fate of substances administered to a living organism. The substances of interest include any chemical xenobiotic such as: pharmaceutical drugs, food additives, etc, it attempts to analyze chemical metabolism and to discover the fate of a chemical from the moment that it is administered up to the point at which it is eliminated from the body. Pharmacokinetics is the study of how an organism affects a drug, whereas pharmacodynamics is the study of how the drug affects the organism. Both together influence dosing and adverse effects, as seen in PK/PD models. Pharmacokinetics describes how the body affects a specific xenobiotic/chemical after administration through the mechanisms of absorption and distribution, as well as the metabolic changes of the substance in the body, the effects and routes of excretion of the metabolites of the drug. Pharmacokinetic properties of chemicals are affected by the route of administration and the dose of administered drug.
These may affect the absorption rate. Models have been developed to simplify conceptualization of the many processes that take place in the interaction between an organism and a chemical substance. One of these, the multi-compartmental model, is the most used approximations to reality; the various compartments that the model is divided into are referred to as the ADME scheme: Liberation – the process of release of a drug from the pharmaceutical formulation. See IVIVC. Absorption – the process of a substance entering the blood circulation. Distribution – the dispersion or dissemination of substances throughout the fluids and tissues of the body. Metabolism – the recognition by the organism that a foreign substance is present and the irreversible transformation of parent compounds into daughter metabolites. Excretion – the removal of the substances from the body. In rare cases, some drugs irreversibly accumulate in body tissue; the two phases of metabolism and excretion can be grouped together under the title elimination.
The study of these distinct phases involves the use and manipulation of basic concepts in order to understand the process dynamics. For this reason in order to comprehend the kinetics of a drug it is necessary to have detailed knowledge of a number of factors such as: the properties of the substances that act as excipients, the characteristics of the appropriate biological membranes and the way that substances can cross them, or the characteristics of the enzyme reactions that inactivate the drug. All these concepts can be represented through mathematical formulas that have a corresponding graphical representation; the use of these models allows an understanding of the characteristics of a molecule, as well as how a particular drug will behave given information regarding some of its basic characteristics such as its acid dissociation constant and solubility, absorption capacity and distribution in the organism. The model outputs for a drug can be used in industry or in the clinical application of pharmacokinetic concepts.
Clinical pharmacokinetics provides many performance guidelines for effective and efficient use of drugs for human-health professionals and in veterinary medicine. The following are the most measured pharmacokinetic metrics: In pharmacokinetics, steady state refers to the situation where the overall intake of a drug is in dynamic equilibrium with its elimination. In practice, it is considered that steady state is reached when a time of 4 to 5 times the half-life for a drug after regular dosing is started; the following graph depicts a typical time course of drug plasma concentration and illustrates main pharmacokinetic metrics: Pharmacokinetic modelling is performed by noncompartmental or compartmental methods. Noncompartmental methods estimate the exposure to a drug by estimating the area under the curve of a concentration-time graph. Compartmental methods estimate the concentration-time graph using kinetic models. Noncompartmental methods are more versatile in that they do not assume any specific compartmental model and produce accurate results acceptable for bioequivalence studies.
The final outcome of the transformations that a drug undergoes in an organism and the rules that determine this fate depend on a number of interrelated factors. A number of functional models have been developed in order to simplify the study of pharmacokinetics; these models are based on a consideration of an organism as a number of related compartments. The simplest idea is to think of an organism as only one homogenous compartment; this monocompartmental model presupposes that blood plasma concentrations of the drug are a true reflection of the drug's concentration in other fluids or tissues and that the elimination of the drug is directly proportional to the drug's concentration in the organism. However, these models do not always reflect the real situation within an organism. For example, not all body tissues have the same blood supply, so the distribution of the drug will be slower in these tissues than in others with a better blood supply. In addition, there are some tissues (s
A carbamate is an organic compound derived from carbamic acid. A carbamate group, carbamate ester, carbamic acids are functional groups that are inter-related structurally and are interconverted chemically. Carbamate esters are called urethanes. Carbamic acids are unstable. For example, ammonium carbamate is generated by treatment of ammonia with carbon dioxide 2 NH3 + CO2 → NH4Carbamates arise via alcoholysis of chloroformamides: R2NCCl + R'OH → R2NCO2R' + HClAlternatively, cabamates can be formed from chloroformates and amines: R'OCCl + R2NH → R2NCO2R' + HClCarbamates may be formed from the Curtius rearrangement, where isocyanates formed are reacted with an alcohol. RCON3 → RNCO + N2 RNCO + R′OH → RNHCO2R′ Although most of this article concerns organic carbamates, the inorganic salt ammonium carbamate is produced on a large scale as an intermediate in the production of the commodity chemical urea from ammonia and carbon dioxide; the N-terminal amino groups of valine residues in the α- and β-chains of deoxyhemoglobin exist as carbamates.
They help to stabilise the protein, when it becomes deoxyhemoglobin and increases the likelihood of the release of remaining oxygen molecules bound to the protein. This stabilizing effect should not be confused with the Bohr effect; the ε-amino groups of the lysine residues in urease and phosphotriesterase feature carbamate. The carbamate derived from aminoimidazole is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of inosine. Carbamoyl phosphate is generated from carboxyphosphate rather than CO2; the most important carbamate is the one involved in the capture of CO2 by plants since this process is necessary for their growth. The enzyme ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase fixes a molecule of carbon dioxide as phosphoglycerate in the Calvin cycle. At the active site of the enzyme, a Mg2+ ion is bound to glutamate and aspartate residues as well as a lysine carbamate; the carbamate is formed when an uncharged lysine side chain near the ion reacts with a carbon dioxide molecule from the air, which renders it charged, therefore, able to bind the Mg2+ ion.
Some of the most common amine protecting groups, such as BOC, FMOC, Cbz and troc are carbamates. The so-called carbamate insecticides feature the carbamate ester functional group. Included in this group are aldicarb, carbaryl, fenobucarb and methomyl; these insecticides kill insects by reversibly inactivating the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. The organophosphate pesticides inhibit this enzyme, although irreversibly, cause a more severe form of cholinergic poisoning. Fenoxycarb has a carbamate group but acts as a juvenile hormone mimic, rather than inactivating acetylcholinesterase; the insect repellent icaridin is a substituted carbamate. Carbamate nerve agentsWhile the carbamate acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are referred to as "carbamate insecticides" due to their high selectivity for insect acetylcholinesterase enzymes over the mammalian versions, the most potent compounds such as aldicarb and carbofuran are still capable of inhibiting mammalian acetylcholinesterase enzymes at low enough concentrations that they pose a significant risk of poisoning to humans when used in large amounts for agricultural applications.
Other carbamate based acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are known with higher toxicity to humans, some such as T-1123 and EA-3990 were investigated for potential military use as nerve agents. However, since all compounds of this type have a quaternary ammonium group with a permanent positive charge, they have poor blood-brain barrier penetration, are only stable as crystalline salts or aqueous solutions, so were not considered to have suitable properties for weaponisation. Polyurethanes contain multiple carbamate groups as part of their structure; the "urethane" in the name "polyurethane" refers to these carbamate groups. In contrast, the substance called "urethane", ethyl carbamate, is neither a component of polyurethanes, nor is it used in their manufacture. Urethanes are formed by reaction of an alcohol with an isocyanate. Urethanes made by a non-isocyanate route are called carbamates. Polyurethane polymers have a wide range of properties and are commercially available as foams and solids. Polyurethane polymers are made by combining diisocyanates, e.g. toluene diisocyanate, diols, where the carbamate groups are formed by reaction of the alcohols with the isocyanates: RN=C=O + R′OH → RNHCOR′ Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is a wood and paint preservative and used in cosmetics.
Urethane was once produced commercially in the United States as a chemotherapy agent and for other medicinal purposes. It was found to be toxic and ineffective, it is used as a veterinary medicine. In addition, some carbamates are used in human pharmacotherapy, for example, the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors neostigmine and rivastigmine, whose chemical structure is based on the natural alkaloid physostigmine. Other examples are meprobamate and its derivatives like carisoprodol, felbamate and tybamate, a class of anxiolytic and muscle relaxant drugs used in the 1960s before the rise of benzodiazepines, still used nowadays in some cases. Carbachol is used for various ophthalmic purposes; the protease inhibitor darunavir for HIV treatment contains a carbamate functional group. Carbamate insecticides target human melatonin receptors, along with inhibiting acetylcholi
Drug metabolism is the metabolic breakdown of drugs by living organisms through specialized enzymatic systems. More xenobiotic metabolism is the set of metabolic pathways that modify the chemical structure of xenobiotics, which are compounds foreign to an organism's normal biochemistry, such as any drug or poison; these pathways are a form of biotransformation present in all major groups of organisms, are considered to be of ancient origin. These reactions act to detoxify poisonous compounds; the study of drug metabolism is called pharmacokinetics. The metabolism of pharmaceutical drugs is an important aspect of medicine. For example, the rate of metabolism determines the duration and intensity of a drug's pharmacologic action. Drug metabolism affects multidrug resistance in infectious diseases and in chemotherapy for cancer, the actions of some drugs as substrates or inhibitors of enzymes involved in xenobiotic metabolism are a common reason for hazardous drug interactions; these pathways are important in environmental science, with the xenobiotic metabolism of microorganisms determining whether a pollutant will be broken down during bioremediation, or persist in the environment.
The enzymes of xenobiotic metabolism the glutathione S-transferases are important in agriculture, since they may produce resistance to pesticides and herbicides. Drug metabolism is divided into three phases. In phase I, enzymes such as cytochrome P450 oxidases introduce reactive or polar groups into xenobiotics; these modified compounds are conjugated to polar compounds in phase II reactions. These reactions are catalysed by transferase enzymes such as glutathione S-transferases. In phase III, the conjugated xenobiotics may be further processed, before being recognised by efflux transporters and pumped out of cells. Drug metabolism converts lipophilic compounds into hydrophilic products that are more excreted; the exact compounds an organism is exposed to will be unpredictable, may differ over time. The major challenge faced by xenobiotic detoxification systems is that they must be able to remove the almost-limitless number of xenobiotic compounds from the complex mixture of chemicals involved in normal metabolism.
The solution that has evolved to address this problem is an elegant combination of physical barriers and low-specificity enzymatic systems. All organisms use cell membranes as hydrophobic permeability barriers to control access to their internal environment. Polar compounds cannot diffuse across these cell membranes, the uptake of useful molecules is mediated through transport proteins that select substrates from the extracellular mixture; this selective uptake means that most hydrophilic molecules cannot enter cells, since they are not recognised by any specific transporters. In contrast, the diffusion of hydrophobic compounds across these barriers cannot be controlled, organisms, cannot exclude lipid-soluble xenobiotics using membrane barriers. However, the existence of a permeability barrier means that organisms were able to evolve detoxification systems that exploit the hydrophobicity common to membrane-permeable xenobiotics; these systems therefore solve the specificity problem by possessing such broad substrate specificities that they metabolise any non-polar compound.
Useful metabolites are excluded since they are polar, in general contain one or more charged groups. The detoxification of the reactive by-products of normal metabolism cannot be achieved by the systems outlined above, because these species are derived from normal cellular constituents and share their polar characteristics. However, since these compounds are few in number, specific enzymes can remove them. Examples of these specific detoxification systems are the glyoxalase system, which removes the reactive aldehyde methylglyoxal, the various antioxidant systems that eliminate reactive oxygen species; the metabolism of xenobiotics is divided into three phases:- modification and excretion. These reactions act in concert to remove them from cells. In phase I, a variety of enzymes act to introduce polar groups into their substrates. One of the most common modifications is hydroxylation catalysed by the cytochrome P-450-dependent mixed-function oxidase system; these enzyme complexes act to incorporate an atom of oxygen into nonactivated hydrocarbons, which can result in either the introduction of hydroxyl groups or N-, O- and S-dealkylation of substrates.
The reaction mechanism of the P-450 oxidases proceeds through the reduction of cytochrome-bound oxygen and the generation of a highly-reactive oxyferryl species, according to the following scheme: O2 + NADPH + H+ + RH → NADP+ + H2O + ROHPhase I reactions may occur by oxidation, hydrolysis, cyclization and addition of oxygen or removal of hydrogen, carried out by mixed function oxidases in the liver. These oxidative reactions involve a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, NADPH and oxygen; the classes of pharmaceutical drugs that utilize this method for their metabolism include phenothiazines and steroids. If the metabolites of phase I reactions are sufficiently polar, they may be excreted at this point. However, many phase I products are not eliminated and undergo a subsequent reaction in which an endogenous substrate combines with the newly incorporated functional group to
Excretion is a process by which metabolic waste is eliminated from an organism. In vertebrates this is carried out by the lungs and skin; this is in contrast with secretion, where the substance may have specific tasks after leaving the cell. Excretion is an essential process in all forms of life. For example, in mammals urine is expelled through the urethra, part of the excretory system. In unicellular organisms, waste products are discharged directly through the surface of the cell. During life activities such as cellular respiration, several chemical reactions take place in the body; these are known as metabolism. These chemical reactions produce waste products such as carbon dioxide, salts and uric acid. Accumulation of these wastes beyond a level inside the body is harmful to the body; the excretory organs remove these wastes. This process of removal of metabolic waste from the body is known as excretion. Green plants produce carbon water as respiratory products. In green plants, the carbon dioxide released during respiration gets utilized during photosynthesis.
Oxygen is a by product generated during photosynthesis, exits through stomata, root cell walls, other routes. Plants can get rid of excess water by guttation, it has been shown that the leaf acts as an'excretophore' and, in addition to being a primary organ of photosynthesis, is used as a method of excreting toxic wastes via diffusion. Other waste materials that are exuded by some plants — resin, latex, etc. are forced from the interior of the plant by hydrostatic pressures inside the plant and by absorptive forces of plant cells. These latter processes do not need added energy, they act passively. However, during the pre-abscission phase, the metabolic levels of a leaf are high. Plants excrete some waste substances into the soil around them. In animals, the main excretory products are carbon dioxide, urea, uric acid and creatine; the liver and kidneys clear many substances from the blood, the cleared substances are excreted from the body in the urine and feces. Aquatic animals excrete ammonia directly into the external environment, as this compound has high solubility and there is ample water available for dilution.
In terrestrial animals ammonia-like compounds are converted into other nitrogenous materials as there is less water in the environment and ammonia itself is toxic. Birds excrete their nitrogenous wastes as uric acid in the form of a paste. Although this process is metabolically more expensive, it allows more efficient water retention and it can be stored more in the egg. Many avian species seabirds, can excrete salt via specialized nasal salt glands, the saline solution leaving through nostrils in the beak. In insects, a system involving Malpighian tubules is utilized to excrete metabolic waste. Metabolic waste diffuses or is transported into the tubule, which transports the wastes to the intestines; the metabolic waste is released from the body along with fecal matter. The excreted material may be called ejecta. In pathology the word ejecta is more used. UAlberta.ca, Animation of excretion Brian J Ford on leaf fall in Nature
Benzodiazepines, sometimes called "benzos", are a class of psychoactive drugs whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring. The first such drug, was discovered accidentally by Leo Sternbach in 1955, made available in 1960 by Hoffmann–La Roche, since 1963, has marketed the benzodiazepine diazepam. In 1977 benzodiazepines were globally the most prescribed medications, they are in the family of drugs known as minor tranquilizers. Benzodiazepines enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid at the GABAA receptor, resulting in sedative, anxiolytic and muscle relaxant properties. High doses of many shorter-acting benzodiazepines may cause anterograde amnesia and dissociation; these properties make benzodiazepines useful in treating anxiety, agitation, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal and as a premedication for medical or dental procedures. Benzodiazepines are categorized as either intermediary, or long-acting. Short- and intermediate-acting benzodiazepines are preferred for the treatment of insomnia.
Benzodiazepines are viewed as safe and effective for short-term use, although cognitive impairment and paradoxical effects such as aggression or behavioral disinhibition occur. A minority of people can have paradoxical reactions such as worsened panic. Benzodiazepines are associated with increased risk of suicide. Long-term use is controversial because of concerns about decreasing effectiveness, physical dependence, an increased risk of dementia. Stopping benzodiazepines leads to improved physical and mental health; the elderly are at an increased risk of both short- and long-term adverse effects, as a result, all benzodiazepines are listed in the Beers List of inappropriate medications for older adults. There is controversy concerning the safety of benzodiazepines in pregnancy. While they are not major teratogens, uncertainty remains as to whether they cause cleft palate in a small number of babies and whether neurobehavioural effects occur as a result of prenatal exposure. Benzodiazepines can cause dangerous deep unconsciousness.
However, they are less toxic than their predecessors, the barbiturates, death results when a benzodiazepine is the only drug taken. When combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcoholic drinks and opioids, the potential for toxicity and fatal overdose increases. Benzodiazepines are misused and taken in combination with other drugs of abuse. Benzodiazepines possess psycholeptic, hypnotic, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, amnesic actions, which are useful in a variety of indications such as alcohol dependence, anxiety disorders, panic and insomnia. Most are administered orally. In general, benzodiazepines are well-tolerated and are safe and effective drugs in the short term for a wide range of conditions. Tolerance can develop to their effects and there is a risk of dependence, upon discontinuation a withdrawal syndrome may occur; these factors, combined with other possible secondary effects after prolonged use such as psychomotor, cognitive, or memory impairments, limit their long-term applicability.
The effects of long-term use or misuse include the tendency to cause or worsen cognitive deficits and anxiety. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia recommends discontinuing the usage of benzodiazepines in those on opioids and those who have used them long term. Benzodiazepines can have serious adverse health outcomes, these findings support clinical and regulatory efforts to reduce usage in combination with non-benzodiazepine receptor agonists; because of their effectiveness and rapid onset of anxiolytic action, benzodiazepines are used for the treatment of anxiety associated with panic disorder. However, there is disagreement among expert bodies regarding the long-term use of benzodiazepines for panic disorder; the views range from those that hold that benzodiazepines are not effective long-term and that they should be reserved for treatment-resistant cases to those that hold that they are as effective in the long term as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The American Psychiatric Association guidelines note that, in general, benzodiazepines are well tolerated, their use for the initial treatment for panic disorder is supported by numerous controlled trials.
APA states that there is insufficient evidence to recommend any of the established panic disorder treatments over another. The choice of treatment between benzodiazepines, SSRIs, serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, psychotherapy should be based on the patient's history and other individual characteristics. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are to be the best choice of pharmacotherapy for many patients with panic disorder, but benzodiazepines are often used, some studies suggest that these medications are still used with greater frequency than the SSRIs. One advantage of benzodiazepines is that they alleviate the anxiety symptoms much faster than antidepressants, therefore may be preferred in patients for whom rapid symptom control is critical. However, this advantage is offset by the possibility of developing benzodiazepine dependence. APA does not recommend benzodiazepines for persons with depressive
The GABA receptors are a class of receptors that respond to the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, the chief inhibitory compound in the mature vertebrate central nervous system. There are two classes of GABA receptors: GABAA and GABAB. GABAA receptors are ligand-gated ion channels, it has long been recognized that the fast response of neurons to GABA, blocked by bicuculline and picrotoxin is due to direct activation of an anion channel. This channel was subsequently termed the GABAA receptor. Fast-responding GABA receptors are members of a family of Cys-loop ligand-gated ion channels. Members of this superfamily, which includes nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, GABAA receptors, glycine and 5-HT3 receptors, possess a characteristic loop formed by a disulfide bond between two cysteine residues. In ionotropic GABAA receptors, binding of GABA molecules to their binding sites in the extracellular part of the receptor triggers opening of a chloride ion-selective pore; the increased chloride conductance drives the membrane potential towards the reversal potential of the Cl¯ ion, about –75 mV in neurons, inhibiting the firing of new action potentials.
This mechanism is responsible for the sedative effects of GABAA allosteric agonists. In addition, activation of GABA receptors lead to the so-called shunting inhibition, which reduces the excitability of the cell independent of the changes in membrane potential. There have been numerous reports of excitatory GABAA receptors. According to the excitatory GABA theory, this phenomenon is due to increased intracellular concentration of Cl¯ ions either during development of the nervous system or in certain cell populations. After this period of development, a chloride pump is upregulated and inserted into the cell membrane, pumping Cl− ions into the extracellular space of the tissue. Further openings via GABA binding to the receptor produce inhibitory responses. Over-excitation of this receptor induces receptor remodeling and the eventual invagination of the GABA receptor; as a result, further GABA binding becomes inhibited and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials are no longer relevant. However, the excitatory GABA theory has been questioned as being an artefact of experimental conditions, with most data acquired in in-vitro brain slice experiments susceptible to un-physiological milieu such as deficient energy metabolism and neuronal damage.
The controversy arose when a number of studies have shown that GABA in neonatal brain slices becomes inhibitory if glucose in perfusate is supplemented with ketone bodies, pyruvate, or lactate, or that the excitatory GABA was an artefact of neuronal damage. Subsequent studies from originators and proponents of the excitatory GABA theory have questioned these results, but the truth remained elusive until the real effects of GABA could be reliably elucidated in intact living brain. Since using technology such as in-vivo electrophysiology/imaging and optogenetics, two in-vivo studies have reported the effect of GABA on neonatal brain, both have shown that GABA is indeed overall inhibitory, with its activation in the developing rodent brain not resulting in network activation, instead leading to a decrease of activity. GABA receptors influence neural function by coordinating with glutamatergic processes. A subclass of ionotropic GABA receptors, insensitive to typical allosteric modulators of GABAA receptor channels such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates, was designated GABAС receptor.
Native responses of the GABAC receptor type occur in retinal bipolar or horizontal cells across vertebrate species. GABAС receptors are composed of ρ subunits that are related to GABAA receptor subunits. Although the term "GABAС receptor" is used, GABAС may be viewed as a variant within the GABAA receptor family. Others have argued that the differences between GABAС and GABAA receptors are large enough to justify maintaining the distinction between these two subclasses of GABA receptors. However, since GABAС receptors are related in sequence and function to GABAA receptors and since other GABAA receptors besides those containing ρ subunits appear to exhibit GABAС pharmacology, the Nomenclature Committee of the IUPHAR has recommended that the GABAС term no longer be used and these ρ receptors should be designated as the ρ subfamily of the GABAA receptors. A slow response to GABA is mediated by GABAB receptors defined on the basis of pharmacological properties. In studies focused on the control of neurotransmitter release, it was noted that a GABA receptor was responsible for modulating evoked release in a variety of isolated tissue preparations.
This ability of GABA to inhibit neurotransmitter release from these preparations was not blocked by bicuculline, was not mimicked by isoguvacine, was not dependent on Cl¯, all of which are characteristic of the GABAA receptor. The most striking discovery was the finding that baclofen, a clinically employed muscle relaxant mimicked, in a stereoselective manner, the effect of GABA. Ligand-binding studies provided direct evidence of binding sites for baclofen on central neuronal membranes. CDNA cloning confirmed. Additional information on GABAB receptors has been reviewed elsewhere. GABA agonist GABA antagonist IUPHAR GPCR Database - GABAB receptors GABA+Receptor at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings
European Chemicals Agency
The European Chemicals Agency is an agency of the European Union which manages the technical and administrative aspects of the implementation of the European Union regulation called Registration, Evaluation and Restriction of Chemicals. ECHA is the driving force among regulatory authorities in implementing the EU's chemicals legislation. ECHA helps companies to comply with the legislation, advances the safe use of chemicals, provides information on chemicals and addresses chemicals of concern, it is located in Finland. The agency headed by Executive Director Bjorn Hansen, started working on 1 June 2007; the REACH Regulation requires companies to provide information on the hazards and safe use of chemical substances that they manufacture or import. Companies register this information with ECHA and it is freely available on their website. So far, thousands of the most hazardous and the most used substances have been registered; the information is technical but gives detail on the impact of each chemical on people and the environment.
This gives European consumers the right to ask retailers whether the goods they buy contain dangerous substances. The Classification and Packaging Regulation introduces a globally harmonised system for classifying and labelling chemicals into the EU; this worldwide system makes it easier for workers and consumers to know the effects of chemicals and how to use products safely because the labels on products are now the same throughout the world. Companies need to notify ECHA of the labelling of their chemicals. So far, ECHA has received over 5 million notifications for more than 100 000 substances; the information is available on their website. Consumers can check chemicals in the products. Biocidal products include, for example, insect disinfectants used in hospitals; the Biocidal Products Regulation ensures that there is enough information about these products so that consumers can use them safely. ECHA is responsible for implementing the regulation; the law on Prior Informed Consent sets guidelines for the import of hazardous chemicals.
Through this mechanism, countries due to receive hazardous chemicals are informed in advance and have the possibility of rejecting their import. Substances that may have serious effects on human health and the environment are identified as Substances of Very High Concern 1; these are substances which cause cancer, mutation or are toxic to reproduction as well as substances which persist in the body or the environment and do not break down. Other substances considered. Companies manufacturing or importing articles containing these substances in a concentration above 0,1% weight of the article, have legal obligations, they are required to inform users about the presence of the substance and therefore how to use it safely. Consumers have the right to ask the retailer whether these substances are present in the products they buy. Once a substance has been identified in the EU as being of high concern, it will be added to a list; this list is available on ECHA's website and shows consumers and industry which chemicals are identified as SVHCs.
Substances placed on the Candidate List can move to another list. This means that, after a given date, companies will not be allowed to place the substance on the market or to use it, unless they have been given prior authorisation to do so by ECHA. One of the main aims of this listing process is to phase out SVHCs where possible. In its 2018 substance evaluation progress report, ECHA said chemical companies failed to provide “important safety information” in nearly three quarters of cases checked that year. "The numbers show a similar picture to previous years" the report said. The agency noted that member states need to develop risk management measures to control unsafe commercial use of chemicals in 71% of the substances checked. Executive Director Bjorn Hansen called non-compliance with REACH a "worry". Industry group CEFIC acknowledged the problem; the European Environmental Bureau called for faster enforcement to minimise chemical exposure. European Chemicals Bureau Official website