Business sectors


Technical Bodies

The European chemical sector is a pillar of the EU economy: according to the European Commission, it accounts for 7,5% of the EU manufacturing turnover and provides 1,2 million direct highly skilled jobs, with sales amounting to €565 billion.

As it is at the very base of many other industries, and has an impact on safety, health, and the environment, the chemical sector is highly regulated. Within Europe, this is done predominantly through comprehensive pieces of legislations, among which the most relevant are Regulation on 'Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals' (REACH) and Regulation on 'Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemical substances' (CLP).

REACH (EC 1907/2006) aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment, and at the same time enhance the innovation and competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. Currently, more than 26.000 substances have been submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) under REACH. Other groups of chemicals such as fertilizers, explosives, biocides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics are addressed by specific legislations.

The EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, published in 2020, increases efforts towards the protection of the citizens and the environment, while boosting innovation to facilitate the production safe and sustainable chemicals.

23 Technical Bodies responsible

CEN/SS C10 Starch
CEN/SS C20 Explosives
CEN/TC 139 Paints and Varnishes
CEN/TC 193 Adhesives
CEN/TC 223 Soil improvers and growing media
CEN/TC 249 Plastics
CEN/TC 260 Fertilizers and liming materials
CEN/TC 276 Surface active agents
CEN/TC 298 Pigments and extenders
CEN/TC 317 Derivatives from coal pyrolysis
CEN/TC 321 Explosives for civil uses
CEN/TC 347 Methods for analysis of allergens
CEN/TC 352 Nanotechnologies
CEN/TC 360 Coating systems for chemical apparatus and plants against corrosion
CEN/TC 363 Organic contaminants (tar) in biomass producer gases
CEN/TC 366 Materials obtained from End-of-Life Tyres (ELT)
CEN/TC 386 Photocatalysis
CEN/TC 401 Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes
CEN/TC 421 Emission safety of combustible air fresheners
CEN/TC 437 Electronic cigarettes and e-liquids
CEN/TC 462 Regulated chemicals in products
CEN/WS 089 Platform - Guidelines and best practices for sustainable production of carbon nanotube-based nano-enabled products (CNT-based NEPs)
CEN/WS SNF Sustainable Nanomanufacturing Framework

In 2024, seven CEN Technical Committees and two CENELEC Technical Committees will keep working on the deliverables mandated by the Standardization Request on plastics recycling and recycled plastics (M/584), issued by the European Commission in support of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy.

The Standardization Request mandates CEN and CENELEC to revise 11 European Standards, as well as to develop around 45 new deliverables on a variety of topics: quality grades for sorted plastic waste, characterization of recyclates, and design-for-recycling guidelines for a wide range of products used in different applications, such as packaging, construction, electronic and electrical equipment, road vehicles, and agriculture.

CEN/TC 249 'Plastics' will be working on most of these deliverables, including a standard on quality grades for sorted plastics wastes (HDPE, LDPE, PP, PET, PVC, PS, EPS) and a second one on quality assessment of plastic recyclates for use in products (rHDPE, rLDPE, rPP, rPET, rPVC, rPS, rEPS, rABS).


As mandated by Standardization Request M/562, in 2024, CEN experts to publish more than 50 European Standards (ENs) on Explosives for Civil use (from the series: EN 13630, EN 13631, EN 13763, EN 13857-1 and EN 13938).

The new ENs will address the Essential Safety Requirements as listed in Directive 2014/28/EU, ensuring more safety during the production, the handling, and the usage of explosives for civil uses. As such, they are especially relevant for manufacturers, notified bodies, testing bodies, and market surveillance authorities.

These new harmonized standards will reflect the state of the art and consider the latest developments in manufacturing and testing explosives for civil use. Consequently, they will also foster EU cross-border trade and strengthen the European Single Market.



Under Standardization Request M/564, CEN/TC 455 ‘Plant biostimulants’ will publish 33 new European Standards. These ENs will provide detailed  test methods that will allow manufacturers to analyse their products and prove their compliance with relevant requirements under the Fertilising Product Regulation (Reg (EU) 2019/1009). The ENs will also be used by notified bodies and testing bodies for conformity assessment activities.

CEN/TC 223 ‘Soil improvers and growing media’ and CEN/TC 260 ‘Fertilizers and liming material’ will validate the test methods included in ENs under development and already described in already published Technical Specifications, by means of interlaboratory studies which will see the involvement of many testing bodies all over Europe.

CEN/TC 260 ‘Fertilizers and liming material’ will also extend the scope of certain methods under development, as requested by a new Standardization Request issued by the European Commission in late 2023. These methods will include new matrices to support new requirements introduced by several Delegated Regulations, amending the Fertilizing Products Regulation.



Directive 2013/29/EU on pyrotechnic articles is a recast of Directive 2007/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, which has introduced some changes about the essential safety requirements applicable to pyrotechnic articles.
Through the Standardization Request on pyrotechnic articles (M/583), the European Commission asked CEN to revise the relevant harmonized standards in support of Directive 2013/29/EU, with the aim to update the references currently published in the OJEU on how to prove presumption of conformity.

In 2024, CEN/TC 212 'Pyrotechnic articles' will continue the revision of 31 European and International standards. The revision will ensure their full alignment with Directive 2013/29/EU, detailing technical specifications related to the Essential Safety Requirements, and will be based on risk assessment and risk reduction methodologies, and reflect the generally acknowledged state of the art. Moreover, the revisions will introduce new elements compared to the previous editions, such as the environmental requirements (biodegradability) on F1-F4 articles.


Standardization activities carried out in CEN/TC 352 ‘Nanotechnologies’ address four specific challenges: 1) metrology for physical and chemical characteristics, performance evaluation, and quality control; 2) industrial health and safety as well as environmental concerns; 3) regulation and consumer concerns; and 4) food additives.

In 2024, CEN/TC 352 will continue working on two Technical Specifications on nanotechnologies and nanomaterials mandated by M/461: CEN/TS ‘Nanotechnologies - Guidelines for the characterization of nanoobjects-containing additives in food products’, and CEN/TS ‘Nanotechnologies - Guidance on the determination of aggregation and agglomeration state of nano-objects’.
The TC will also develop several other deliverables, such as CEN/TS ‘Nanotechnologies - Quick start guide for deploying a relevant nano health and safety risk management’ and the revision of EN ISO 21356-1 ‘Nanotechnologies - Structural characterization of graphene – Part 1: Graphene from powders and dispersions’.

Some of these deliverables will enhance the capability to manage health and safety for workers, for the environment and for society. Some will enhance the capability to develop innovation and manage economic exchanges. Others still will also enhance the capability to fulfil emerging regulations.


In 2024, CEN/TC 462 ‘Regulated chemicals in products’ will complete a new standard on 'Determination of the content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) by gas chromatography in plastic and rubber in articles supplied to the general public that come into direct contact with human skin and oral cavity'.

This project is carried out under Standardization Request M/556 with regards to compliance with maximum content criteria of PAH in rubber and plastic components of articles placed on the market for supply to the general public, in support of Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006.

The standard will support Annex XVII of REACH (entry 50) concerning the eight carcinogenic PAHs it lists. It will also harmonize the analytical methods for determining the individual concentration of the eight PAHs concerned in the plastic and rubber components of articles falling within the scope of the restriction and ensure that only articles that do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment can legally access the EU market.

CEN/TC 462 will also start working on two new ENs: ‘Regulated chemicals in products - Determination of the content of certain Phthalates by gas chromatography in plastic in articles supplied to the general public that come into direct contact with human skin and oral cavity’ and ‘Regulated chemicals in products - Screening of substances of very high concern (SVHC) — General principles’.

Standards published by CEN and CENELEC in the sector

  • CEN and CENELEC Portfolio of deliverables: 1359 ENs + 141 other deliverables
  • Work items currently in the Work Programme: 223 ENs + 9 other deliverables

Standardization requests from EC/EFTA

  • M/556 – Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)

  • M/562 – Explosives for civil use

  • M/564, M/564 Amd 1, M/564 Amd 2 – Fertilizers

  • M/583 – Pyrotechnical articles

  • M/584 – Plastics recycling and recycled plastics