Amendment to the Regulation on Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Chemicals (CLP)

CLP

On December 19, 2022. The European Commission has published a proposal to modify Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 on the classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals and mixtures (CLP). The change was originally announced as part of the adoption of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainable Development in October 2020. The Parliament and the European Council recently adopted a preliminary agreement on updating the document.

Purpose of the CLP Regulation

The purpose of the CLP regulation is to protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals and to ensure the free movement of substances and mixtures in the single market. The regulation requires manufacturers, importers or other companies in the value chain to properly classify, label and package hazardous chemicals before selling them. Through pictograms and label statements, the CLP informs consumers and professionals about the risks associated with the purchase, use and disposal of hazardous chemicals and the precautions they must take as a result. The regulation is the basis for a number of legal provisions throughout EU legislation on chemicals risk management.

Hazard classes in the CLP regulation

On April 20, 2023. European Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/707 came into force, which introduced three new hazard classes into CLP:

  • endocrine disruption (ED) in relation to human health (HH) or the environment (ENV);
  • properties of substances that are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB);
  • Persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) or very persistent, very mobile (vPvM) properties.

Changes introduced in the new CLP regulation

The new rules included in the CLP regulation will improve the functioning of the EU market for products containing hazardous chemicals and better protect consumers, workers and the environment. Amendments to the regulation will bring it in line with various forms of commerce (e-commerce or products in refillable packaging), while promoting the closed-loop circulation of chemical products, simplifying labels (including digital labels), and ensuring high protection against chemical hazards. The revised regulations are also designed to speed up the identification of hazardous substances and mixtures at the EU level and help improve communication about hazardous chemicals.

The new CLP regulation makes the following changes:

  • Updated rules for the classification of complex substances (substances containing more than one component, known as “MOCS”). Parliament and the European Council have agreed on a specific derogation in this category: for plant extracts, including essential oils;
  • Better consumer protection when purchasing hazardous chemicals online. Websites will have to provide information about the dangerous properties of products;
  • Clearer labeling of hazardous chemicals, including for online sales. The revision of current regulations introduced advertising requirements and a minimum font size for text informing about hazardous chemicals;
  • Important safety information and pictograms indicating the type of danger to businesses will also remain on the packaging;
  • New powers for the European Commission to speed up the procedure for identifying hazardous substances and propose the necessary classification;
  • The first-ever regulations on refillable chemicals to promote the safe sale of household substances in bulk. This will also reduce the amount of packaging, and thus packaging waste;
  • poison centers will receive better and faster information for medical emergencies.

Chemicals strategy

The chemicals strategy was adopted by the European Council in March 2021. It sets a long-term vision for EU chemicals policy. The strategy is intended to facilitate the achievement of a non-toxic environment with a higher level of protection for human health and ecosystems, while strengthening the competitiveness of the EU chemical industry. The strategy assumes that through strict regulation, innovation and support for safer alternatives, an environment free of harmful chemicals can be achieved.

When will the new CLP regulation be adopted?

The next step in the adoption of the new rules on improving the classification, labeling and packaging of hazardous chemicals is the formal adoption of the document by two key institutions of the European Union – the European Parliament and the European Council. The new regulations will come into force 20 days after their publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

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