The influence of hazard classification on the use of chemicals

A pilot project

image of The influence of hazard classification on the use of chemicals

The purpose of this pilot project is to investigate the relationship between the implementation of classification and labelling of chemical substances and their use. The system that has been examined is the EU legislation for classification and labelling of chemical substances and mixtures. The focus lies on substances with harmonised classification at European Union (EU) Community level as dangerous for the environment which by themselves or in a mixture above a certain concentration limit lead to classification and labelling with the symbol “Fish and tree” and the indication of danger Dangerous for the environment (N). Other effects were also included to some extent. EU Environmental hazard classification has been conducted since the mid 1990s and from the early first decade of the 21st century for chemical substances and mixtures. Now, almost 20 years after the first criteria were implemented it is interesting to look back and see whether this classification has had an impact on the use of these substances.




The lack of knowledge of intrinsic hazardous properties of chemical substances and mixtures can pose a threat to both human health and the environment. The aim of classification and labelling is to identify these hazardous properties and to communicate these through appropriate warnings together with information on safety measures, to ensure that receivers and users will have the information necessary for adequate protection. Apart from labelling (information on hazard classification provided on the packaging), the more detailed information shall also be provided to professional users through safety data sheets (SDS). Since classification is based on intrinsic hazardous properties and not on assessment of risk, the obligation to inform users applies irrespective of the intended use of the product and the risks connected with a particular use. Hazard classification and communication through labelling and SDS is thereby a hazard based tool for risk management and risk reduction.


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