ECHA receives more than 3 million notifications for the first EU inventory of hazardous substances

Following the requirements laid down in the new Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging, more than 3 million notifications have been submitted by chemicals manufacturers and importers to the European Chemical Agency by the deadline. This classification aims to better protect human health and the environment, by determining whether a chemical is dangerous and the information on the labels of chemicals that workers and consumers use.

Companies placing substances on the EU market were requested in 2010 to meet the requirements of the new Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP Regulation No 1272/2008) of hazardous substances from 1 December 2010. These new rules which align the EU classification system to the UN Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), aimed at ensuring that the same hazards are described and labelled in the same way all around the world enabling the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to establish the first European inventory of hazardous substances and harmonised classifications.

Following these requirements, those companies placing substances on the EU market had to meet the requirements of the new CLP Regulation from 1 December 2010, and chemicals manufacturers and importers had to notify the classification of substances to ECHA by 3 January 2011. After the deadline, 3,114,835 notifications were submitted to ECHA by the deadline.

Given that there are no tonnage limits for submitting notifications, unlike the registration obligations under REACH (Regulation No 1907/2006 for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), many more companies were affected by the notification obligations under CLP, notably small businesses.

Manufacturers and importers that place hazardous substances on the market for the first time after the deadline must notify the classification to the ECHA within one month.

Why a European inventory of hazardous substances and harmonised classifications?

Substances and mixtures have to be classified in specific hazard classes and categories and labelled with appropriate hazard pictograms, signal words, hazard statements and precautionary statements. This is important to ensure that information is passed on appropriately to all users of substances and that equal protection levels are ensured.

The aim is to make the information about the hazards of substances available to all stakeholders. Based on the information received, ECHA will publish a Classification & Labelling Inventory. In the event that different classifications have been notified for the same substance, the companies concerned will have to agree an entry. This will eventually lead to harmonised classifications for all hazardous substances placed on the EU market.