September 28, 2021

Regulatory requirements for chemical materials

Discover requirements for classification, labelling, packaging, manufacturing, handling, use, disposal, and transport of chemical materials

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is intending to ensure a safe use of chemicals in the European Union.

REACH is a European Union regulation, created from 18 December 2006, to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals, while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry. It also promotes alternative methods for the hazard assessment of substances in order to reduce the number of tests on animals.

REACH establishes procedures for collecting and assessing information on the properties and hazards of substances. Companies need to register their substances and to do this they need to work together with other companies who are registering the same substance.

ECHA receives and evaluates individual registrations for their compliance (identifying needs for restrictions or authorisation of chemicals), and the EU Member States evaluate selected substances to clarify initial concerns for human health or for the environment. Authorities and ECHA's scientific committees assess whether the risks of substances can be managed.

Authorities can ban hazardous substances if their risks are unmanageable. They can also decide to restrict a use or make it subject to a prior authorisation.

To supply any hazardous chemicals within the European Union, you must abide by the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP Regulation).

The CLP Regulation is a European Union regulation from 2008 which aligns the European Union system of classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures to the Globally Harmonised System (GHS).

It complements the REACH Regulation, facilitates global trade and ensures that the hazards of chemicals are clearly communicated to workers and consumers through pictograms and standard statements on labels and safety data sheets. CLP encompasses the regulatory requirements for classification, labelling and packaging of mixtures, where a mixture has hazardous properties, as defined in the CLP regulation, or where it contains certain hazardous components above specified.

The Globally Harmonised System will be used by the chemical manufacturers to establish the mandatory chemical’s hazard information to chemical handlers by providing a Safety Data Sheet.

The Safety Data Sheet, or SDS, is a standardised document that typically contains chemical properties, health and environmental hazards, protective measures, as well as safety precautions for storing, handling, and transporting chemicals.

A Safety data sheet has sixteen sections. The early sections, one through eight, focus on quick access to essential information that might be required by chemical handlers for safe handling practices or by emergency response personnel. Sections nine through eleven contain technical and scientific data, e.g., stability, reactivity, physical & chemical properties. Sections twelve through fifteen are not mandatory; however, they are required to be fully GHS compliant. The last section, section sixteen, contains information about the SDS itself, e.g., the revision date and changes since the last version.

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