In 2008, 725 products available to consumers were labeled as allergenic. Twelve years later, the corresponding figure is 4,539, according to the Swedish Chemicals Agency.
This increase is due, on the one hand, to the fact that more products are correctly labeled thanks to targeted inspections by the Chemicals Inspectorate and, on the other hand, to the transition to the EU regulation on classification and labeling, and, on the other hand, to many chemical products which should have been labeled in the past.
But the increase is also due to the fact that more and more chemical products contain allergenic substances. One example where the incidence has increased is paints. They are now water-based unlike in the past when they contained organic solvents and water-based paints need to contain preservatives in order not to be destroyed and these are often highly allergenic.
Allergy substances can also be found in adhesives, detergents, clothing and toys.
"If the number of products containing allergenic substances increases, this can lead to problems both for people who are already allergic and to more people developing an allergy," says Anna-Karin Dark, risk assessor at the Swedish Chemicals Agency, in a press release.
A prerequisite for reducing exposure is to identify allergenic substances. In the spring of 2023, the European Commission is expected to vote on a proposal from Sweden and France to ban over 1,000 skin allergens in clothes and shoes, among other things.