We see product safety as an integral part of all business processes, as an element of our risk management, and as an important pillar of our commitment to Responsible Care®. We continuously work to ensure that our products pose no risk to people or the environment when they are used responsibly and in the manner intended. We aim to comply with all relevant national and international laws and regulations.
We are committed to continuously minimizing the negative effects of our products on the environment, health and safety and to the ongoing optimization of our products. This commitment to product safety is enshrined in our Responsible Care® charter and the initiatives of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). Our products should not pose any risk to humans or the environment when used responsibly and in the manner intended. We aim to comply with all relevant national and international laws and regulations. Our global requirements define rules, processes and responsibilities, for example, to ensure uniformly high product safety standards worldwide. Our sites and subsidiaries are responsible for implementing and complying with internal guidelines and legal requirements. The Environmental Protection, Health & Safety unit in the Corporate Center conducts regular audits to monitor this. BASF’s global network of experts shares information, insights and best practices around product safety on an ongoing basis.
We maintain and evaluate environmental, health and safety data for all of our substances and products in a global database. This information is continuously updated. The database forms the basis for substance and product assessments and for our safety data sheets, which we make available to our customers in around 40 languages. These include information on the physical/chemical, toxicological and ecotoxicological properties of products, potential hazards, first aid measures, measures to be taken in the case of accidental release, and disposal. Our global emergency hotline network enables us to provide information around the clock. In order to help users to quickly find out about our products and the risks associated with them, we use the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) to classify and label our products around the world, provided this is legally permissible in the country concerned. We take into account any national or regional modifications within the GHS framework, such as the E.U.’s CLP Regulation.
We train our employees, customers and logistics partners worldwide on the proper handling and optimal use of selected products with particular hazard potential. Furthermore, in associations and together with other manufacturers, BASF is pushing for the establishment of voluntary global commitments to prevent the misuse of chemicals.
Global chemicals regulations
Most of the products we manufacture are subject to statutory chemicals regulations. We want to ensure compliance with these. We are bound by the relevant regional and national chemicals regulations, which continue to grow in number worldwide. Examples include REACH in the E.U., TSCA in the United States and KKDIK in Turkey. BASF Group companies work closely together with a global network of experts to ensure that BASF complies with the applicable regulations.
Environmental and toxicological testing
Before launching products on the market, we subject them to a variety of environmental and toxicological tests using state-of-the-art knowledge and technology. If we employ animal studies, we adhere to the specifications laid down by the German Animal Welfare Act as well as the requirements of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care – the highest standard for laboratory animals in the world. We develop and are continuously optimizing alternative methods to experimentally assess the safety and tolerance of our products without animal studies. Our aim is to replace, reduce and refine animal studies to minimize the impact on them. We made great progress toward this goal in 2021. For example, an animal-free toxicological testing strategy jointly developed by BASF and Givaudan was approved by the OECD – the first of its kind worldwide. The strategy comprises three individual alternative methods. By combining these methods, it is possible to test more precisely than in animal studies whether a substance causes allergic skin reactions.
Management of nano- and biotechnology
Nanotechnology and biotechnology offer solutions for key societal challenges – such as environmental and climate protection or health and nutrition. For example, nanomaterials can improve battery performance and biocatalytic methods can improve process resource efficiency. We want to harness the potential of both technologies. Using them safely and responsibly is our top priority. Safe handling of nanomaterials is stipulated in our Nanotechnology Code of Conduct, for instance. We produce a range of products with the help of biotechnological methods, including natural fragrances and flavors, enzymes, vitamins or seeds for agriculture. This provides us with extensive experience in their safe use in research, development and production. We are guided by the code of conduct set out by EuropaBio, the European biotechnology association, and want to adhere to all relevant standards and legal regulations governing production and marketing in our use of biotechnology.