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Use of chemicals to be made safer16th of March 2011
In a drive to improve worker safety and consumer protection, the EU's chemicals watchdog is set to publish an inventory of over 20,000 chemicals declared hazardous by manufacturers and importers.
An EU regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures (CLP) – in force since January 2009 - requires companies to classify, label and package appropriately hazardous chemicals before placing them on the market.
It aims to protect workers, consumers and the environment by means of labelling which reflects the potential hazardous effects of dangerous substances. The regulation will implement at EU level the United Nations' Globally Harmonised System (GHS) for classification and labelling of chemical substances and mixtures.
The inventory “will significantly improve safety by providing up-to-date information on all the hazardous substances that are on the EU market today”, said Geert Dancet, executive director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
Just over 3.1 million notifications of 24,529 different substances in use on the EU market were submitted to the agency by last week's deadline.
The high number of substances notified is a result of the fact that companies were required to send bulletins for all chemicals classified as hazardous regardless of volume – even for substances for which no registration is required under new EU chemicals regulation REACH or which only have to be registered under it in 2013 or 2018.
The agency hopes to have the classification and labelling database ready by May this year.