CEFIC Concerned by Revision of EU CLP Regulation

09.01.2023 - On December 19, 2022, the European Commission proposed a revised regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of chemicals and introduced new hazard classes for endocrine disruptors, as well as for chemicals that do not break down in the environment and can accumulate in living organisms, or risk entering and spreading across the water cycle, including drinking water.

As CLP is based on the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (UN GHS), the EU is uncoupling itself from harmonized UN standards with the new hazard classes. This is the concern of CEFIC, the European Chemical Industry Council.

Commenting on the planned CLP revision, CEFIC said: “Introducing new hazard classes under CLP without amending the UN GHS framework first is like putting the cart before the horse.” According to CEFIC, this potentially permanent deviation of the EU framework from the global rules can lead to a disjointed system of classification and labelling at the global level. In addition to CEFIC, several other countries and associations have already expressed concern about the impact of this measure outside the EU.

CEFIC said that the changes proposed in the EU Commission’s draft Delegated Act will have far-reaching consequences on the use of chemicals in many value chains, from plant protection products to cosmetics. Assigning new hazard classes to substances will trigger automatic restrictions and bans under REACh due to the future extension of the Generic Approach to Risk Management, as well as under product legislation. In CEFIC’s view, the potential impact of all these bans once new CLP classifications kick in has not been fully examined.

As mentioned at the beginning, the Delegated Act introduces new hazard classes for complex endpoints, such as endocrine disruption and mobility. Unfortunately, CEFIC noted, clarification on how to use scientific evidence to classify substances for some of these endpoints still needs to be developed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

For example, for mobility, if refined scientific information reflecting chemical behavior in the environment is available, it should override screening information in the classification process. In the area of endocrine disruption, CEFIC called on all stakeholders to work together to reduce animal testing by using the latest science to implement fit-for-purpose New Assessment Methods (NAMs) in the assessment of endocrine disrupting properties of chemicals. Therefore, CEFIC argues, clear and timely development of guidance will be critical to help companies reclassify and relabel their products.

Understanding CLP

The purpose of the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation ((EC) No 1272/2008), according to information available on the website of ECHA (the chemicals agency of the European Union) is to ensure a high level of protection of health and the environment, as well as the free movement of substances, mixtures and articles. CLP is legally binding across the Member States and directly applicable to all industrial sectors. It requires manufacturers, importers or downstream users of substances or mixtures to classify, label and package their hazardous chemicals appropriately before placing them on the market. One of the main aims of CLP is to determine whether a substance or mixture displays properties that lead to a hazardous classification. In this context, classification is the starting point for hazard communication.