In order to indicate the hazards of substances (single chemicals) and mixtures in use, products are labelled. Examples of these hazards are flammability, health hazards such as toxicity and environmental hazards. In the EU, these have been identified by symbols in orange/yellow squares along with warning words and phrases. Examples are:
New EU legislation has been introduced, aligning with the world-wide Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling (GHS). This introduces new symbols (now called pictograms) and phrases (Hazard and Precautionary Statements). Examples of the new pictograms can be seen on the right. The new labels should have been introduced on substances from 1st December 2010. Companies have until 1st June 2015 to make the change on mixtures such as paints and inks. The BCF has produced a leaflet outlining the differences between the two schemes. This can be downloaded here.
The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA has created a webpage showing the new labels and giving details on each pictogram. This also includes an interactive quiz on the new pictograms introduced by the CLP Regulation. You can check how well you know the new symbols and the products on which they will be used. You can also watch animated films from the European Agency for Health and Safety (EU-OSHA) at Work. The website is here
Another part of the hazard communication, for professional users, is the safety data sheet. As of 1 December 2010 these changed as a requirement of REACH. Please see our REACH pages for more information by clicking here.
Further detail on classification and labelling is available for our Members by clicking here. (Login details will be requested unless you are already logged in as a Member.)