AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Chemicals are used by millions of people in households and in the workplace every single day and many of us don’t give them a second thought. Most of these chemicals are harmless if used in the correct way, but some can be dangerous when in inexperienced hands, which is why it is extremely important to display chemical classification labels on all chemical products. These labels are designed to warn users of hazards and potential dangers.

A brief history of the chemical legal system

Chemical Classification Labelling  A Guide To The Change In Legislation For Chemical Classification Labelling It was in the 1960s that the EU passed the Dangerous Substances Directive (DSD),which outlined the way in which chemical substances such as titanium dioxide are classified. It wasn’t long until the Dangerous Preparations Directive (DPD) was also passed, which set out the classification of mixed chemicals. In the UK the 2009 CHIP regulation (which is an abbreviation for ‘Chemicals Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply’) implements the DSD and DPD. You will most probably recognise the orange and black warning signs that are developed and produced by these directives.

Up until now, CHIP regulations have only applied in the UK, which was beginning to cause problems. The fact that different countries had their own classification systems meant that it was difficult to export chemical products, because what one country might classify as hazardous, another may not. Different countries produced their own warning signs, too, so it became confusing to consumers and they struggled to identify which products were dangerous.

To combat the issue, the United Nations created the GHS (Globally Harmonised System) on classification and labelling.The GHS was never legally binding but was developed so that countries would create their own laws based on the GHS.

Out with CHIP, in with the CLP Regulation

From the 1 June 2015, the old CHIP System will be completely revoked and the CLP system will be implemented by European regulations. The CLP, which stands for ‘classification, labelling and packaging’, will apply to all European countries, including the UK. The directive was originally introduced in January 2009 and has had to endure a long six year transition period, but once it comes into force, a new set of hazard pictograms will be introduced and applied across Europe, creating a uniform system that is instantly recognisable by chemical handlers in any country in the Union.

So what has changed with the hazard pictograms?

Most importantly, the colour of the hazard pictograms have changed. CHIP pictograms were orange and black and have now been replaced by the CLP’s striking white and red pictograms. Many of the hazard warnings remain extremely similar to those of the CHIP, but there have been a few new additions for chemists to get their collective heads around.

Popular sign #1: “Harmful”

This sign, which was once just a black cross on an orange background, has now been replaced with a simple exclamation mark. This pictogram suggests that this chemical will cause mild skin irritations.

Popular sign #2: “Contains gas under pressure”

This new addition depicts a simple gas canister.

Popular sign #3: “Highly hazardous”

This pictogram is also brand new and depicts a silhouette of a person from the chest upwards with a star shape on the chest. This pictogram warns of potential long lasting effects, mutagens, carcinogens, sensitisers, aspiratory hazards, and some high hazard substances that can target specific organs.

Suppliers and labelling

If a supplier determines that there are chemicals in their product that can potentially cause harm, then it is a legal requirement for them to convey this information on the product’s packaging and labelling. They must use the required pictogram and the wording that supports it, and depending on the classification application results, the supplier may need to include hazard statements, precautionary statements and signal words.

Not too much of a change

All in all the new legislation hasn’t dramatically changed the way in which common chemical products are labelled, apart from introducing additional pictograms and revamping their look. Some suppliers may be using the CLP process already but those who are not will be required by law to change from the old CHIP system to the new CLP regulations by summer next year.

About the author : Tammy Wiltshire is the Marketing Manager at Labelnet who are a leading specialist in adhesive labels for industrial chemical products. Labelnet are based in Ongar, Essex and have been producing labels since 1999.


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