EU CLP Labels for Chemicals on the Market - Weekly Compliance Digest

May 26, 2017
By Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

In this edition of the Weekly Compliance Digest, we cover the final deadline (June 1, 2017) of the EU’s CLP regulation on the classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals.

Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures

What is it?

The CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) Regulation entered into force in January 2009, and implements the EU’s adaptation of the UN’s Globally Harmonised System (GHS). CLP includes requirements for the classification of hazardous chemicals, and the creation of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and labels. Along with the EU REACH Regulation, it is among the two most important regulations on chemicals in the EU.

CLP was implemented through transition phases. From December 1, 2010 to May 31, 2015, all substances had to be classified both according to CLP and the previous Dangerous Substances Directive (DSD), but they had to be labeled and packaged only according to CLP. Mixtures could still use CLP or the previous Dangerous Preparations Directive (DPD). Since June 1, 2015, all substances and mixtures have been required to comply exclusively with CLP.

However, CLP provided a two-year transition period for mixtures that were already on the market before June 1, 2015. Hazardous chemical products placed on the market on June 1, 2015 or after have been required to comply with CLP, but those that were already on the market before June 1, 2015, and not labeled according to CLP, did not have to be removed or re-labeled. They could still stay on the market and be sold. This transition phase ends on May 31, 2017, meaning as of June 1, 2017, any chemical product on the market that does not comply with CLP will be illegal.

Who is affected?

The end of the two-year transition period potentially affects everyone in the supply chain located in the EU (and EEA member states), especially distributors and retailers. Any entity that stores hazardous chemical products or has them on shelves is affected by the end of the transition period if the products are not classified and labeled according to CLP.

It’s worth noting that CLP does not apply to the following type of products:

  • Medicinal products for humans and animals
  • Cosmetic products
  • Food or feeding stuffs

See Article 1 of the text of the regulation for more details on the exemptions, including referenced regulations.

What are the requirements?

An article in the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) May 2017 newsletter summarizes the requirements. All hazardous chemical products on the EU market need to be labeled with the new red and white diamond-shaped pictograms by June 1, 2017.

As of June 1, 2017, distributors are not allowed to sell any products with the old classification and labeling. As for retailers, they can only have products with the new CLP labels on their shelves.

Even if organizations have products with old labels in stock, they can no longer sell them after June 1, 2017. ECHA says that these chemical products will have to be removed from shelves unless organizations have agreed with their suppliers that they provide them with new labels and their packaging complies with the CLP requirements.

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