Products – CLP

Transition to new CLP hazard communication successful

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As of 1 June 2017, all hazardous chemicals must be labelled with hazard information and precautionary recommendations, under the CLP regulation (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of dangerous substances and mixtures). The industry has successfully implemented this new regulation, which aligns Europe’s approach to hazard communication with the worldwide framework of the United Nations (GHS or Globally Harmonised System).

CLP introduced more stringent classification criteria, resulting in more mixtures on the market being classified as hazardous. In essenscia’s annual questionnaire, only 20% of its members reported an increase of less than 10% in the number of hazardous products in their portfolio. For about 16% of respondents, the hazards increased for more than half of their product portfolio. The trend towards placing more concentrated products on the market is enhancing this effect, with growing awareness of the need to reduce CO2 emissions during transport and to cut packaging waste resulting in a preference for concentrated products in smaller packaging.
However, research for the European Commission* in early 2017 indicated that Belgian respondents did not understand all the hazard pictograms. Nearly everyone recognised the flammability pictogram (96%), followed by the ‘hazardous for the environment’ pictogram (85%) and the ‘serious health hazard’ pictogram (for cancer, asthma, respiratory toxicity…). But only one in five understood that the exclamation mark indicates an irritating or harmful product.

Products labelled ‘hazardous’ can still be used safely, provided the correct precautionary measures are taken. This is why carefully reading the label is important. The website www.gevaarsymbolen.be summarises this effectively: ‘recognising symbols can save lives’. That is why essenscia supports this awareness-raising campaign by the government. The detergents sector has also launched several initiatives to advise consumers how to use detergents safely, including ‘Safe Use Icons’. These symbols show visually how to use these products correctly.

essenscia is supporting its members to correctly classify, label and package chemicals through:

  • a CLP manual which includes a summary of the different classification criteria;
  • an annual five-day CLP course running since 2010 with the support of various experts, in which more than 220 employees from 97 companies have already taken part.
  • A network of experts to classify and label detergents (DETNET)

*Special Eurobarometer 456 on Chemical Safety: http://bit.ly/2r9yItu

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