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Trade in products containing benzene increased EU imports of hazardous chemicals

The reported volume of hazardous chemicals imported to and exported from the European Union (EU) under the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation continued to increase in 2022.

The European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) annual report on the trade of chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the EU shows that the imports of PIC chemicals increased over 20 fold, from 883 119,74 tonnes in 2021 to 19 698 668,33 tonnes in 2022. This is due to benzene as a constituent being added to the list of chemicals subject to PIC in 2022.

Substances containing benzene is the first “substance in substance” entry under the PIC Regulation, with 96% (18 845 530,34 tonnes) of imports reported in 2022 concerning these substances.

The report also found a 24% increase in exports of banned or severely restricted chemicals to non-EU countries from 2021 to 2022. Overall, almost 980 941,51 tonnes of PIC chemicals were exported during the year.


24 EU countries and 543 companies provided data to ECHA on the export of PIC chemicals from the EU in 2022. Three EU countries and Northern Ireland declared that they had not exported PIC chemicals.

21 EU countries and Northern Ireland provided data on imports of PIC chemicals into the EU in 2022. The information came from 191 companies. Six EU countries declared that they had not imported PIC chemicals.

Article 10 of the PIC Regulation requires importers and exporters to give information about the annual trade of chemicals listed in Annex I of the regulation to their designated national authorities by 31 March of the following year. Each EU country must then provide the aggregated information to ECHA so that it can be summarised at EU level and non-confidential information can be made publicly available.