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Classification, packaging and labelling of chemicals and their mixtures

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Classification, packaging and labelling of chemicals and their mixtures

The regulation seeks to ensure that European Union workers and consumers are clearly informed of the hazards associated with chemicals by means of a system of classification and labelling. The aim is to ensure that the same hazards are described and labelled in the same way in all EU countries.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006.

SUMMARY

The regulation seeks to ensure that European Union workers and consumers are clearly informed of the hazards associated with chemicals by means of a system of classification and labelling. The aim is to ensure that the same hazards are described and labelled in the same way in all EU countries.

WHAT DOES THIS REGULATION DO?

It lays down uniform requirements for the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures according to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS). It requires companies to classify, label and package appropriately their hazardous chemicals before placing them on the market.

The main areas not covered by this regulation are: radioactive substances and mixtures, cosmetics, medicines and certain medical devices, food or the transport of dangerous goods.

KEY POINTS

Classification

Substances and mixtures are classified in specific categories and hazard classes: (i) physicochemical hazard (e.g. flammable liquid); (ii) health hazard (e.g. acute toxicity); (iii) environmental hazard (e.g. for the ozone layer). Annex I lays down the criteria for the classification and labelling of hazardous substances and mixtures.

Labelling

Substances and mixtures must be labelled with the following information:

supplier identity;

name of the substance or mixture and/or identification number;

nominal quantity of the products available to the general public;

hazard pictograms (graphic composition combining a symbol and another visual element);

signal words (‘Warning’ or ‘Danger’);

risk phrases (‘Fire or projection hazard’, ‘Fatal if swallowed’, etc.);

safety advice (‘Keep only in original container’, ‘Protect from moisture’, ‘Keep out of reach of children’, etc.).

Packaging

The packaging of hazardous substances and mixtures must: (i) prevent the contents escaping; (ii) be made of materials that are resistant when in contact with the contents; (iii) be strong and solid and (iv) have sealable fastenings.

In some cases, child-resistant fastenings and tactile warnings are required.

Harmonisation

The industry should reach a consensus on the classification of all substances. However, for particularly serious risks, particularly in the case of substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction, EU countries may propose harmonised classifications that the European Commission then makes compulsory by law.

Notification

The classification and labelling of any registered or hazardous substance for sale must be notified to the European Chemicals Agency for inclusion in the classification and labelling inventory that the agency regularly updates.

WHEN DOES THIS REGULATION APPLY?

From 20 January 2009. It applies compulsorily to substances from 1 December 2010 and mixtures from 1 June 2015.

BACKGROUND

The regulation supplements the REACH system for the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. It amends Directive 67/548/EEC on chemical substances and Directive 1999/45/EC on mixtures and repeals them with effect from 1 June 2015.

For more information, see the European Commission’s chemicals website.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008

20.1.20091.12.2010 (Titles II, III and IV for substances)1.6.2015 (Titles II, III and IV for mixtures)

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OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, pp. 1-1355

RELATED ACTS

Directive 2014/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 amending Council Directives 92/58/EEC, 92/85/EEC, 94/33/EC, 98/24/EC and Directive 2004/37/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, in order to align them to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (OJ L 65, 5.3.2014, pp. 1-7).

Last updated: 12.03.2015

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