CLP FAQ

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Questions and Answers: CLP

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What is CLP ?

CLP is the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008. It is the EU’s implementation of the UN’s Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). It is a Regulation rather than a Directive and therefore applies directly across the EU as well as in Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein as member countries of the EEA, without being transposed into national law.

CLP has made major changes to the way chemicals are classified and labelled in the the EU/EEA. It has introduced new "pictograms", warning phrases, hazard statements, and criteria, with larger and more colourful labels too. Some chemicals not subject to labels under the old classification and labelling regime will now need labelling; some chemicals with relatively mild warnings will be labelled in a much more severe way - despite their properties being unchanged.

The legal text has been amended a number of times by 'Adaptations to Technical Progress'; an unofficial consolidated version of the Regulation can be found here.

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What chemicals are within the scope of CLP and which are exempt?

CLP applies to all substances and mixtures imported, manufactured, or placed on the market within the EEA unless otherwise exempt.

The Regulation in its entirety does not apply to:

  • Radioactive substances and mixtures within the scope of Council Directive 96/29/Euratom;
  • Substances and mixtures in Customs control (for example, in free zones) which are not subject to treatment or processing;
  • Waste as defined in Directive 2006/12/EC;
  • Non-isolated intermediates;
  • Substances and mixtures for scientific research and development which are not placed on the market, and
  • The transport of dangerous goods.

In addition, Member States may grant exemptions in specific cases for certain substances or mixtures where necessary in the interests of defence.

There are also exemptions for substances and mixtures in their finished state, intended for the final user in the following areas:

  • Medicinal products for humans and animals as defined in Directives 2001/83/EC and 2001/82/EC respectively;
  • Cosmetic products as defined in Directive 76/768/EEC;
  • Medical devices as defined in Directives 90/385/EEC, 93/42/EEC and 98/79/EC, and
  • Food or feeding stuffs as defined in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002.

If you are unsure if CLP applies to you and your products, contact us for more information and details of our Helpdesk and Consultancy services.

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I formulate and supply mixtures. I have just heard that DPD is being repealed by the CLP Regulation. When should I classify and label to CLP?

Classification, labelling and packaging in accordance with the CLP Regulation has applied to substances and mixtures alike from 1 June 2015*, when the Dangerous Preparations Directive (DPD) was repealed. This deadline applies to all in-scope mixtures, from simple dilutions to complex formulations comprising mixtures within mixtures when they are placed on the market.

* Note that there is a derogation for mixtures already labelled to DPD and already placed on the market by 1 June 2015: such products do not need to be re-labelling until 1 June 2017. But if you formulate, package and supply (or import) a mixture after 1 June 2015, you must apply CLP.

Classifying mixtures under CLP requires skill and expert knowledge; it is more onerous than classifying under DPD. The move to CLP may also result in apparent changes to the hazard - for example, an irritant under DPD may be classified as corrosive under CLP - and so your company may wish to reformulate to avoid the more severe label elements.

If you want to find out more about how CLP affects you and what you need to do to comply, come along to our next CLP workshop. If you need help in classifying your mixtures to CLP, or deciding on the most appropriate label design, why not use our free Matchmaker service to find trusted experts?

 

Does CLP apply to scented candles?

A scented candle is a combination of an article (the wick, which functions as a carrier material) and a substance/mixture (the fuel and scent). Therefore, these products are in scope of the CLP Regulation.

What are the general obligations?

Classification

In general, manufacturers, importers and downstream users of substances and mixtures to be placed on the market must check if those chemicals meet the criteria for classification.

Labelling

A supplier must label his substances and mixtures to the CLP requirements before placing them on the market in order to communicate hazard information. Safety Data Sheets must also be provided to business customers where the chemicals are hazardous.

Notification

Companies who place substances on the market must submit a notification to the Classification and Labelling (C&L) Inventory established by ECHA details of the classification and labelling. This obligation applies to those suppliers who:

  • Manufacture or import a substance subject to REACH registration
  • Manufacture or import a hazardous substance, irrespective of tonnage
  • Import an article containing substances subject to registration under REACH Article 7 (intentional release)
  • Import a mixture containing a hazardous substance above certain limits which results in the classification of the mixture as hazardous.

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What is the timescale for CLP implementation?

The classification and labelling aspects of CLP have applied to substances since 1 December 2010 and to mixtures since 1 June 2015. A two-year derogation applied to substances already placed on the market on 1 December 2010, which expired on 1 December 2012. There are currently transitional arrangements for mixtures already labelled to DPD and placed on the market by 1 June 2015: such goods do not need to be re-labelled until 1 June 2017.

From 1 December 2010, suppliers have 1 month from placing the material on the market to submit their notification to the Classification and Labelling Inventory.

If you would like advice on how the transitional arrangements applies to you, contact our Helpdesk.

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Can non-EU companies appoint an Only Representative for CLP?

There is no provision in the CLP Regulation for the appointment of an Only Representative. However, if an Only Representative has already registered the substance under REACH, the importers do not need to submit a separate notification. An OR appointed for REACH may also act on behalf of a group of importers and submit notifications to the inventory via REACH-IT, but should be able to document that they have been nominated to act on behalf of the group. Note, however, that the importers remain responsible for the notification.

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Does CLP apply to EU producers or importers of articles?

CLP only affects EU producers or importers of explosive articles (as described in Section 2.1 of Annex I to CLP) or where REACH Article 7 or 9 provides for registration or notification of a substance contained in an article.

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I am a Downstream User obtaining chemicals from EU suppliers. Do I need to submit a notification to the C&L Inventory?

No. Notification only applies to companies who import or manufacture and place on the market substances in scope of notification.

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My substance was listed in Annex I of the Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC; DSD) with a harmonised classification. Is there such an agreed classification under CLP?

Annex I of the DSD, which listed the harmonised classification and labelling requirements of around 8,000 substances, was repealed on 20 January 2009. The list was immediately incorporated into Annex VI of the CLP Regulation. Here, the classification and labelling according to CLP is given in Table 3.1 and that according to the DSD is in Table 3.2. These dual classifications are legally binding and must be used until 1 June 2015, when CLP repeals the DSD and the Dangerous Preparations Directive (1999/45/EC; DPD) in full.

Amendments to Tables 3.1 and 3.2 in Annex VI are made through Adaptations to Technical Progress (ATPs).

To search for the current harmonised classification and labelling requirements of a substance, we recommend using the Classification and Labelling Inventory and the registered substances database, both on the ECHA website.

Note that the harmonised entries in Annex VI to CLP are only partial classifications. Manufacturers, importers and downstream users must classify non-harmonised hazard classes and differentiations and use such self-classification in addition to the harmonised information.

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Do I need to submit a notification to the C&L inventory for a substance with harmonised classification?

A company importing or manufacturing and placing on the market a substance listed in Annex VI of CLP and in scope of the C&L notification duty (see also our FAQ on CLP obligations) must notify their substance to the C&L inventory. They are required to notify the harmonised partial classification given in Annex VI of CLP as well as the self-classification for the non-harmonised hazard classes and differentiations.

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Where can I find the official CLP hazard pictograms?

The hazard pictograms are found on the UN's website. There are .gif files in RGB, .eps files in CYMK, and "label" format .tif files which are 45°-rotated picture for direct label printing in CYMK.

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Is there a specific Pantone number for the red colour of the pictogram frames?

No. There is no specified Pantone number for the red colour.

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I import and supply hazardous substances in the EU. Whose contact information should be stated on the label, those of my non-EU supplier or mine as the importer?

As the EU/EEA supplier, the importer must include their legal entity name, address and telephone number on the label. The non-EU supplier’s information is not required but may be added as supplemental information.

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We supply scrap metal off-cuts. Do we need to label them under CLP?

When trading scrap metal, the chemical composition is usually more important than the physical properties. In that case, the goods are regarded as substances or mixtures rather than articles. Therefore, such metals are in scope of CLP.

However, there is a derogation from labelling for alloys and metals in massive form, although classified as hazardous, if they do not present a hazard to human health by inhalation, ingestion or contact with skin or to the aquatic environment in the form in which they are placed on the market. Note that as the supplier you must provide the information on the classification of the metal or alloy to downstream users or distributors by means of the Safety Data Sheet.

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If a substance or mixture is produced in the EU exclusively for the non-EU market does it need to be labelled in accordancewith CLP prior to export?

If a chemical is produced exclusively for the non-EU market there is no requirement to label the substance or mixture in accordance with CLP, provided that the manufacturer is still the owner of the goods during transportation and he bears the risk for the product during transportation. However, there may be an obligation to provide labels to non-EU customers under other legislation, such as Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals (commonly known as 'PIC', or Prior Informed Consent).

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