Science articles

New CLP provisions Improving classification, labelling and packaging of hazardous chemicals

The revision of the CLP Regulation welcomes an agreement on improving classification labelling and packaging of hazardous chemicals in 2023.The new measures contemplated will better protect consumers, workers and the environment. At the same time, will improve the communication about hazardous chemicals sold online and accelerate the identification of hazardous substances and mixtures at EU level. Also, provide more flexibility about how to use the labels.

According to the European Commission, the following points describe the improvements that the revision of the CLP Regulation bring about:

  • Updated rules for classifying complex substances (substances containing more than one constituent, known as “MOCS”). Plant extracts, essential oils have a specific exemption with a quinquennial revision of scientific evidence.
  • Better protection of consumers when buying hazardous chemicals online. Websites have to display the hazardous properties of the products.
  • Clearer labelling of hazardous chemicals, including for online sales.
  • The possibility for businesses to use fold-out labels and digital labelling, while important safety information and the hazard pictograms also remain on-pack.
  • In addition to Member States and industry, the Commission also have the right to develop classification proposals on potentially hazardous substances. This will speed up the pace at which hazardous substances are identified.
  • First ever rules for refillable chemicals, to support the safe sale of household chemicals in bulk. This will also reduce packaging and consequently packaging waste.
  • Poison centres will receive better and faster information for medical emergencies.

These measures are adopted with the intention of moving towards a more sustainable chemicals industry. This review promises to set an example for chemical companies worldwide and serve as an input to the “Strategy for the Sustainability of Chemicals Matters”, a key point within the European Green Deal.

This amendment to the CLP Regulation establishes new hazard classes and new criteria for the classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures placed on the EU market under REACH. It also applies to active substances in biocides and plant protection products. The new Hazard classes are shown below:

  • ED HH in categories 1 and 2 (Endocrine Disruptor to Human Health)
  • ED ENV in categories 1 and 2 (Endocrine Disruptor to the Environment)
  • PBT (Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic), vPvB (very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative)
  • PMT (Persistent, Mobile and Toxic), vPvM (Very Persistent and Very Mobile

Once adopted, the agreed changes to the current regulation, as well as the new hazard criteria for endocrine disruptors and persistent and toxic chemicals in the environment that have already been in place since April last year, will ensure better communication and identification of chemical hazards.The new rules came into force on April 20, 2023. During the transitional period, substances and mixtures may be classified on a voluntary basis. In the case of new substances on the market, companies will have to comply with the rules as of May 1, 2025, while those already on the market have until November 1, 2026.

For mixtures there are transition times, where the new hazard classes apply as of May 1, 2026 for new mixtures, and for existing mixtures on the market, companies have until May 1, 2028 to update the classification and labeling.

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