Labelling and packaging

Once the hazardous properties of a substance or mixture have been identified, they need to be classified accordingly.

Manufacturers, importers, downstream users and distributors, as well as producers and importers of certain specific articles, must communicate the identified hazards to the other actors in the supply chain, including to consumers.

This is done by labelling the substance or mixture in accordance with CLP before placing it on the market, when:

  • The substance or mixture is classified as hazardous.
  • The mixture contains one or more substances classified as hazardous above a certain threshold.
  • The article has explosive properties.

CLP defines the content of the label and the organisation of the various label elements. The label should be firmly attached to one or more of the packaging’s surfaces and has to include the following:

  • The name, address and telephone number of the supplier
  • The nominal quantity of a substance or mixture in packages made available to the general public (unless this quantity is specified elsewhere on the package)
  • Product identifiers
  • Where applicable, hazard pictograms, signal words, hazard statements, precautionary statements and supplemental information required by other legislation.

CLP sets general requirements for labelling to ensure the safe use and supply of hazardous substances and mixtures. Certain labelling exemptions apply e.g. to substances and mixtures contained in packaging that is small (typically less than 125 ml) or is otherwise difficult to label. Other examples are listed in Section 1.3 of Annex I to the CLP Regulation. The exemptions allow the supplier to omit the hazard and/or precautionary statements or the pictograms from the label elements normally required under CLP.

The packaging of a hazardous chemical must be designed, constructed and fastened so that the contents cannot escape at any time. So, the packaging materials must be strong and solid, and resistant to damage by the contents. Replaceable fastening devices must allow repeated refastening without the contents escaping.

The packaging of a chemical that is supplied to the general public must not attract or arouse the curiosity of children or mislead consumers. Packaging must not have a similar presentation or a design used for foodstuff or animal feedstuff or medicinal or cosmetic products.

Child-resistant fastening and tactile warnings

Child-resistant fastenings and/or tactile warnings of danger have to be used if the substances or mixtures are supplied to the general public and display certain hazards or if the product contains methanol or dichloromethane. An overview of the different hazards that trigger this obligation is available on the page “specific labelling and packaging situations”, a link to which is also on this page.

For detailed guidance on the labelling and packaging requirements, we recommend that you read the Guidance on Labelling and Packaging in accordance with the CLP Regulation.