The CLP regulation (Classification, Labelling and Packaging) concerns the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures.
It is applicable in the European Economic Area (EEA), i.e. the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (also referred to as "European Union" or "Community" in the context of the CLP regulation).
The purpose of the CLP regulation is to ensure that clear information is provided to workers and consumers in the European Union on the hazards associated with chemicals, by means of the classification and labelling of chemical substances and mixtures.
Before placing chemical products on the market, the industry must determine the potential risks of these substances and mixtures to human health and the environment, and classify them in accordance with the hazards identified. Hazardous chemicals must also be labelled according to a standardised system, so that workers and consumers are aware of their effects before using them.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is responsible for implementing the CLP regulation and for providing a framework for the related procedures, in order to enable uniform implementation within the EU.
Under the CLP regulation, all suppliers in a supply chain must work together to ensure compliance with classification, labelling and packaging requirements.
In case they do not, the specific obligations under the CLP regulation depend on the role in the supply chain.
The main roles, as defined in the CLP regulation, are:
This applies to all actors in the chemicals industry, as well as to users of chemicals, for example:
It is important to determine the company status in accordance with the CLP regulation ("manufacturer", "importer" or "downstream user") as the status determines the obligations that the business must fulfil.
The CLP regulation has applied to substances since 2010, and to mixtures as of June 2015. It has been fully applicable since June 2017 following the end of the transitional periods initially provided for in the Regulation, which allowed companies to apply it gradually.
It has three main sections:
The CLP also requires manufacturers to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) of substances classified as hazardous so that they may be included in the Classification and Labelling Inventory (C&L Inventory).
The CLP is based on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), a set of recommendations drafted by the United Nations (UN). It is mainly concerned with harmonising:
Moreover, the CLP regulation is closely related to:
Chemical classifications must reflect the type and severity of the intrinsic risks of a substance or mixture.
This must not be confused with risk assessment. Risk assessments concern the risk posed by the actual exposure of humans or the environment to the substance or mixture presenting this risk.
There are 4 main stages in the classification of a substance or mixture:
All substances and mixtures that meet the criteria of one or more of the CLP hazard categories listed below are considered to be hazardous:
In accordance with the CLP regulation, suppliers must label a substance or mixture contained within packaging before placing it on the market, where:
Suppliers can find this information in the safety data sheet (SDS) for the substance concerned.
The label must include the following information:
In compliance with the CLP regulation, the hazard pictograms are represented by white diamonds framed in red with a black symbol inside.
The CLP regulation covers substances and mixtures in general. For certain chemicals, for example phytopharmaceuticals, detergents and perfumes, further information may be required by specific legislation applicable to a particular product, in addition to the labelling information stipulated by the CLP regulation.
Distributors must not adopt their own classification for labelling purposes; they are required to use the classification for the substance or mixture provided by their supplier.
The CLP requires manufacturers to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) of substances classified as hazardous so that they may be included in the Classification and Labelling Inventory (C&L Inventory).
The Classification and Labelling Inventory (C&L Inventory) is a database that is updated regularly and contains: