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This reflective article explores how different regulatory regimes concerned with the industrial use of chemicals conceptualize chemicals as regulatory objects in different ways. The United States Toxic Substances Control Act characterizes chemicals as risky objects, the European Union's REACH regime characterizes chemicals as market objects and the Californian Green Chemistry Initiative characterizes chemicals as scientific objects. The malleability of chemicals as regulatory objects has implications for debates about international chemicals regulation, including the need for a more nuanced debate and greater regulatory imagination.