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A closer look at the proposed CLP revisions: steps to improve hazard communication

Earlier this month we shared news on proposed changes to the EU CLP regulation that will bring in new hazard classifications for endocrine disruptors and other harmful substances. These are not the only proposals being put forward by the European Commission for revision of the CLP regulation. Here we look at another of the Commission proposals outlined for introduction to the CLP regulation, aimed at improving communication of chemical hazards through making product labels more consumer friendly.

The European Commission reports that around 55% of EU citizens believe themselves to be inadequately informed about the hazards of chemicals in consumer products, due to poor understanding of product labels. This lack of understanding is argued in part to stem from limited readability of labels, technical language used and use of font sizes that are too small.

To help address these issues the Commission has proposed amending the CLP regulation to introduce several new measures including:

  • Introducing new formatting rules for labels.  The readability of labels is proposed to be improved through establishing new requirements that will include minimum font sizes and line spacing. 
  • Introduction of rules for voluntary digital labelling. In view of technological advancements, the use of digital labels will be addressed, with a series of requirements introduced for their use such as the ability to search for information on the digital label and the placement of links to digital labels on the product. Whilst the use of digital labels will not remove the mandatory requirement for providing a compliant physical label on products, selected supplemental information would be able to be included on the digital label only. 
  • Revision of advertisement rules for hazardous substances and mixtures. The updated requirements for advisements will provide improved clarity on the information that must be mentioned, namely that which is considered most important for safety of human health and environmental protection, i.e. inclusion of relevant hazard pictograms, signal word, hazard classes, and hazard statements.

A consultation on these proposed revisions is currently ongoing until March 2023.

Further information on the CLP proposals are available on the European Commission website.

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