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Many consumer products with hazardous chemicals are not child-resistant

ECHA/PR/16/08

An enforcement project has shown that a high proportion of products with hazardous chemicals that should be sold in packaging with child resistant fastenings and can be found on supermarket shelves in the EU, do not comply with the CLP requirements and do not adequately protect children.

Helsinki, 21 June 2016 – Altogether, 15 EU Member States and countries in the European Economic Area participated in an enforcement project, coordinated by the Forum of enforcement authorities. The project aimed to check the level of safe packaging of consumer products containing hazardous chemicals.

A total of 797 products with hazardous chemicals were inspected. Out of these, 230 products did not meet the requirements for classification, labelling and packaging under the CLP Regulation resulting in an overall non-compliance rate of 29 %. The majority of the inspected products were disinfectants, bleaches and different kinds of cleaners for drains, toilets, ovens and windows. All actors in the supply chain were inspected. The majority were distributors, in particular retailers.

In 32 cases, the inspectors proved that products containing hazardous chemicals were not adequate to prevent children from opening them and thus they did not meet the legal requirements for child-resistant fastening. Most of the products were classified as skin corrosion category 1 or aspiration hazard category 1.

Some of the frequent issues the inspectors encountered were unreliable certificates and certificates without clear reference to the packaging.

For 77 products either the required tactile warning of danger was not on the packaging or it was not placed correctly. The classification and labelling relating to the child-resistant fastening requirements was incorrect in 66 cases. In a small number of cases, products were found to be designed in a way that could attract the curiosity of children and therefore were not compliant with the CLP Regulation.

As a result of the project, 411 legal actions and enforcement measures were taken by the inspectors. 24 products were prohibited from being placed on the market and another 24 products were withdrawn from the market. Most of the legal actions were verbal or written advice and administrative orders. In several cases, companies were also willing to take voluntary actions to comply with the legislation.

The project was carried out by a working group that made recommendations to the concerned industry as well as to the authorities (The European Commission, ECHA and national enforcement authorities). The recommendations were on how to improve the safety of children and reduce non-compliance with the requirements for child resistant fastenings across Member States.

Further information

Child-resistant fastening and tactile warnings

If substances or mixtures are supplied to the general public, child-resistant fastenings and/or tactile warnings of danger have to be attached to the packaging in case these substances or mixtures display certain hazards or if the packaging contains methanol or dichloromethane. An overview of the different hazards that trigger this obligation is provided in the overview table of hazards that trigger child-resistant fastening or tactile warnings below.

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