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Classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances (phase-in period until 1 June 2015)

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Classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances (phase-in period until 1 June 2015)

The classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances have been harmonised since 1967 to ensure the protection of health and the environment, and to ensure the free movement of such products. This system has been substantially revised by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, which is replacing the original directive in stages.

ACT

Council Directive 67/548/EEC of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances.

SUMMARY

The directive on dangerous substances (DSD) is the first harmonisation text in the field of chemical products. It requires suppliers to classify, label and package dangerous substances according to harmonised rules. The aim is to better protect people and the environment from risks posed by these products, along with ensuring free movement of the products.

The entry into force, in January 2009, of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP regulation) began a transitional period during which both systems were in operation. This means the CLP regulation, having already replaced many of the provisions in the DSD, will replace it permanently from 1 June 2015.

Definitions and scope

The DSD applies to substances, i.e. chemical elements and their compounds as present in their natural state or as produced by industry. Preparations, i.e. mixtures or solutions composed of two or more substances, are covered by Directive 1999/45/EC (DPD).

In accordance with the directive, substances belonging to one of the following 15 hazard categories are considered dangerous:

  • explosive;
  • oxidising;
  • highly flammable, easily flammable or flammable;
  • very toxic or toxic;
  • harmful;
  • corrosive;
  • irritant;
  • sensitising;
  • carcinogenic;
  • mutagenic;
  • toxic for reproduction;
  • hazardous to the environment.

Certain products are specifically excluded from the scope of the text (e.g. medicines and cosmetics, radioactive substances, waste products, etc.). Neither does the text apply to the transport of dangerous goods. In this area, the regulations in force are based on international texts.

Double classification until 1 June 2015

A substance’s classification reflects both the type and level of the substance’s hazard, i.e. the potential risks to humans or to the environment. Suppliers of chemical products must classify these before placing them on the market, whether they consist of substances:

  • for which classification is harmonised and as such is obligatory for suppliers (see Annex VI of the CLP Regulation which contains lists of dangerous substances for which classification has been harmonised in accordance with the DSD and the CLP Regulation respectively); or,
  • that suppliers must self-classify in relation to specific criteria, consisting of the 15 hazard categories defined in the directive (see above) or the 28 hazard classes which replaced them in the CLP Regulation.

Phase-in period

Since 1 December 2010 and until 1 June 2015, substances must be classified according to both the DSD and the CLP Regulation. In particular, this means that during this period both classifications must appear together in the safety data sheets. These sheets contain information on the substance’s properties, hazards, handling precautions, etc. and their aim is to ensure its safe use.

Packaging and labelling

Labelling is the main source of essential, concise information given to the user on the hazards relating to a substance and on the precautions required while using it. A supplier must therefore label all packaging containing a substance classed as dangerous before placing it on the market.

Since 1 December 2010, substances must be labelled and packaged in accordance with the CLP Regulation which repealed and replaced the provisions of the DSD.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal of the European Union

Directive 67/548/EEC

29.6.1967

1.2.19721.1.1975 (Ireland)

OJ 196, 16.8.1967

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal of the European Union

Directive 71/144/EEC

24.3.1971

-

OJ L 74, 29.3.1971

Directive 73/146/EEC

24.5.1973

24.11.1973

OJ L 167, 25.6.1973

Directive 75/409/EEC

27.6.1975

1.6.1976

OJ L 183, 14.7.1975

Directive 79/831/EEC

19.7.1979

18.9.1981 specific measures in relation to articles on the market before that date18.9.1983 limit for remaining articles

OJ L 259, 15.10.1979

Directive 92/32/EEC

22.5.1992

31.10.1993

OJ L 154, 5.6.1992

Directive 96/56/EC

21.9.1996

1.6.1998

OJ L 236, 18.9.1996

Directive 1999/33/EC

19.8.1999

30.7.2000

OJ L 199, 30.7.1999

Regulation (EC) No 807/2003

5.6.2003

-

OJ L 122, 16.5.2003

Directive 2006/121/EC

19.1.2007

1.6.2008

OJ L 396, 30.12.2006

Regulation (EC) 1272/2008

20.1.2009

-

OJ L 353, 30.12.2008

Regulation (EC) No 790/2009

25.9.2009

-

OJ L 235, 5.9.2009

Regulation (EU) No 286/2011

19.4.2011

-

OJ L 83, 30.3.2011

Regulation (EU) No 618/2012

31.7.2012The regulation’s main provisions apply from 1.12.2013

-

OJ L 179, 11.7.2012

Regulation (EU) No 487/2013

21.6.2013

-

OJ L 149, 1.6.2013

Regulation (EU) No 758/2013

13.8.2013

-

OJ L 216, 10.8.2013

Regulation (EU) No 944/2013

23.10.2013

-

OJ L 261, 3.10.2013

Last updated: 30.07.2014

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