Hazardous industrial chemicals in the IED BREFs

October 2017 -
March 2021


2. Natural resources 2.1 Clear waters


The Industrial Emissions Directive is the main instrument on the EU level to control hazardous substances that are released from industrial sites. However, its reference documents, or BREFs, currently lack specific information on certain hazardous substances. The project aims to close this knowledge gap so that industry and authorities can manage hazardous substances being released into the Baltic Sea better.




Hazardous substances released from industries have a harmful effect on the Baltic Sea environment. Yet, the pathways from the installations to the sea and the emission reduction methods are not well known. The main instrument on EU level to control industrial releases is the Industrial Emissions Directive, particularly through the publication of BAT documents (BREFs). However, the BREFs published so far do not contain comprehensive information on specific hazardous substances in industry which makes the management difficult for both industry and the authorities.

What are the project aims?

HAZBREF will increase the knowledge base of the industrial sources and the reduction measures of hazardous chemicals. This will be done by analysing the use of hazardous substances in industrial sectors. To this end, we will utilize existing information from other EU regulatory frameworks, such as REACH and the Water Framework Directive. Moreover, the project aims at enhanced institutional capacity by better exchange and utilization of existing information on hazardous substances between these regulatory frameworks.

What are the expected results?

The capacity to manage industrial chemicals is enhanced among both authorities and industries when the use and risks of chemicals are better addressed in the BREFs. The information is useful for HELCOM, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, in the development of actions to reduce the inputs to the Baltic Sea. HAZBREF also promotes the circular economy by reducing obstacles for recycling of waste.

Highlights by mid-term:

Over thirty authorities, industrial representatives and DG Environment representatives discussed how to include hazardous substances more systemically into the EU’s reference documents of its Industrial Emissions Directive. In addition, they discussed how to establish better communication flows between regulatory actors, such as the European Chemicals Agency, and the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau.

Seven out of an eventual fifteen companies in the textiles, chemicals, and surface treatment of metal and plastics sectors in Germany, Estonia, Finland, Poland and Sweden committed to being case studies of current practices of chemical use and management.


€ 1.99
€ 1.53
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.00


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Project manager

Finnish Environment Institute

Kaj Forsius

358 295 251 119

Legal representative

Finnish Environment Institute

Jyri Seppälä

358 295 251 629

Financial manager

Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)

Maria Koski

358 407 402 547

Communication manager

Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)

Eija Järvinen

358 295 251 242