The new world of product labelling

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  • The new world of product labelling

    The new world of product labelling

    As you may be aware, new Classification, Labelling & Packaging regulations entered into force on 20th January 2009. The deadline for classifying, labelling and packaging mixtures according to the new rules is 1st June 2015. From this point, any products placed on the market or that you buy from your manufacturing partners, such as Byotrol plc, need to comply with these new regulations. You’ll see our products with new labelling starting to appear in your supply chain from May. Don’t worry if you’re sitting on stocks after this time, any products already in the supply chain can still be sold with the previous labels until May 2017.

    A little background

    At the 1992 Rio Earth Summit the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) was initiated. The aim to harmonise global practices, improve trade globally, maintain high level of protection for man and environment. It’s also known as the Purple Book which was first published 2003. It’s updated bi-annually at UN level and implemented within the scope of REACH. Within the EU, it’s enshrined in EU law via the CLP legislation replacing both the Dangerous Substance Directive (DSD) and the Dangerous Preparations Directive (DPD).

    What it means

    All substances and mixtures are subject to reclassification. The classification process is different under CLP to DSD/DPD and now requires an assessment of all the test data on the substances in the mixture and on the mixture itself if available. In the absence of reliable data, the hazards are calculated. For all substances and mixtures, there is a possible relabeling/repacking.

    Symbol (Maximum of 2)Pictogram (Maximum of 5)
    Risk and Safety (R&S) phrases
    (e.g. R50/53)
    Hazard and Precautionary (H&P) phrases
    No signal wordsDanger and Warning signal words
    12 Categories of Danger
    (e.g. 1 for flammable)
    28 Hazard classes
    (e.g. flammable liquids, gases etc)


    There are two main changes you’ll notice on the labels and MSDS’s.

    The orange & black signal labels and risk and safety phrases are replaced with red and black pictograms and hazard and precautionary statements as well as the relevant signal word where applicable. 12 categories of danger are replaced with 28 hazard classes. Whilst different the function of the statements are the same, telling users about the product and what precautions are required when using it.

    Though the classifications may have changed and some of the red and black pictograms look more worrisome than before, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product you used safely yesterday is more dangerous than today, it’s just a different way of communicating the hazards of the product. All these classifications are supported with appropriate Precautionary Statements just as they were previously to ensure that the products continue to be used and handled in a safe and responsible manner.

    As the legislation is implemented, first experience suggests that, in the majority of cases, there will be more labelling on pack after CLP than before which users and industry will soon adjust to.

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