Classification and Labelling are regulated in CLP (Regulation EC 1272/2008 on Classification labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures).   The classification of chemicals must be notified to ECHA. The EU is quickly switching to the Globally Harmonised System for classification (GHS).

GHS at a glance

Across the world different rules on classification and labelling of dangerous chemicals exist. A chemical may be classified as ‘toxic’ or ‘explosive’ in one country but not in another. Also different symbols are used.   A world wide system has been developed through the United Nations: the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, known as the GHS.   GHS is a single system to identify hazards of chemicals and to communicate them across the world.
In the details GHS differs from the ‘old’ EU system for classification and labelling. Criteria (cut-off points) for certain classifications are not identical, some risk phrases have changed and the symbols have been modernised.   The use of GHS in Safety Data Sheets is regulated in the CLP Regulation. (See below)   For more detailed information see the DG Enterprise website on CLP and GHS.

CLP at a glance

CLP is the new Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures.   CLP entered into force in 2009. The ‘old’ legislation may be applied over a transitional period. CLP aligns EU legislation to GHS.   Deadline for substances: 1 December 2010. (Substances on the shelves may be supplied until 1 December 2012)
Deadline for mixtures: 1 June 2015. (Mixtures on the shelves may be supplied until 1 June 2017)   CLP also requires notification to ECHA of the Classification of all manufactured and imported substances. (See below)

Notification of Classification and Labelling

All manufacturers and importers of chemicals must notify to ECHA the classification that they use for their substances. The classifications are listed in a public database.   There are many conflicting entries. Some Lead Registrants are for their substance trying to attain agreement between the many notifiers of classifications   Companies that have themselves registered a substance need not notify their proposed Classification.   Notification to ECHA of the Classification of chemicals must take place within one month of first import or manufacture.
Notification is a major problem for importers of mixtures. They must notify all the substances that render the mixture ‘dangerous’. The lack of a lower threshold means that even substances that they have even not pre-registered under REACH need to be notified. Only Representatives may submit notifications on behalf of the importers that they cover.   Sitmae has developed a checklist with which it can be determined which substances in mixtures must be notified. See our section on ‘Notification checklist for imported chemicals’ below.   Some groups of chemicals are exempted. See the checklist below for details.

Notification checklist for imported products

Warning: This checklist is a simplification of the legislation. Our web site disclaimer applies. In case of the slightest doubt please contact us.   Please note: The 1 t/a REACH threshold does not apply: there is no lower threshold!   Checklist   With this checklist it is possible to determine for which substances notification of classification is required.   The checklist is aimed at imported chemical products.   Check 1: Is the product exempted? Does the imported product fall in any of the following categories: Medicinal, veterinary medicinal, cosmetic, medical device, food or feeding stuffs, food or feed additive, food flavouring, animal nutrition, radioactive or waste? (If in the slightest doubt: see exact definition in the CLP regulation) • If yes: no obligation to notify.   • Otherwise: obligation to notify.
Check 2: The product is a ‘Substance on its own’ (i.e. not a mixture)?   • Is it exempted from Reach? No obligation to notify   • Is it not hazardous? No obligation to notify.   • Otherwise? Obligation to notify.   To know if a substance is exempted from Reach, see our dedicated web page ‘REACH Scope and exemptions’   Check 3: The product is a ‘mixture’?   • Is the mixture as a whole not classified as hazardous? No obligation to notify any of the substances in the mixture.   • Is the mixture as a whole classified as hazardous? Obligation to notify the substances that cause the classification of the mixture.   Check 4: Substances in a mixture that must be notified.   The substances that cause the hazardous classification of the mixture will be mentioned on the Safety Data Sheet.   The SDS can be used to identify which substances must be notified.

Notification Manual

Sitmae have prepared a manual for the notification of classification to ECHA.   This manual addresses simple notifications. ‘Simple’ means that the identity of the substances to be notified is well known (Name, CAS and EC number)
Do you wish to receive this guidance free of charge? Just ask us by using the contact form.

Role Only Representative

Non-EU producers are not allowed to notify substances themselves. They must leave this to the importers; their EU based customers.   The CLP regulation is not part of REACH and does not allow the services of an Only Representative.
A loophole exists, since CLP offers the possibility for joint notification by ‘groups of companies’.   The REACH ‘Only Representative’ may treat importers known to him as a ‘group’.


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