"Chemicals" is a catchall term for chemical substances and compounds that both exist naturally and are produced industrially. The goal of the environment protection authorities is that the discharge and use of such chemicals shall damage neither human health nor nature's capacity for production and renewal.

Concerning the most hazardous chemicals, the goal is for the concentrations in the environment to be reduced to the background level for naturally existing substances, and to be virtually zero for man-made compounds.

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