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The CLP Regulation is the European Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemical substances and mixtures ((EC) No 1272/2008). The legislation introduces a new system for classifying and labelling chemicals throughout the EU, based on the United Nations Globally Harmonised System (UN-GHS). The Netherlands also uses the working name EU-GHS.

CLP is about the hazards of chemical substances and mixtures and how to inform others about them. It is the task of industry to establish the hazards of substances and mixtures (preparations) before they are placed on the market and to classify them in line with the identified hazards. If a substance or a mixture is hazardous, it must be labelled so that workers and consumers are familiar with its effects before they handle it. The Dutch government understands the position of the chemical industry and all other companies dealing with chemicals, and provides guidance through a helpdesk, tools and close cooperation with organisations in the industrial sector.

By providing substances with safety information, the CLP Regulation should be able to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment as well as the free movement of chemical substances, mixtures and certain specific articles, whilst enhancing competitiveness and innovation. The CLP Regulation requires companies to classify, label and appropriately package their hazardous chemicals before placing them on the market.

Transition phase

The CLP Regulation came into force on 20 January 2009 and applies across the European Union. The regulation amends and repeals the Dangerous Substance Directive 67/548/EEC (DSD) and the Dangerous Preparation Directive 1999/45/EC (DPD), and amends Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH)

Not all the provisions of the CLP Regulation are obligatory immediately it comes into force. The transitional provisions contain three key dates that affect the classification and labelling of hazardous substances and mixtures:

  1. 20 January 2009
  2. 1 December 2010: deadline for reclassifying and relabeling substances
  3. 1 June 2015: deadline for reclassifying and relabeling mixtures

The classification of a substance or mixture reflects the type and severity of the hazards of that substance or mixture, i.e. its potential to cause harm to human beings or the environment. The CLP Regulation as well as DSD and DPD provide criteria to determine whether the classification of a substance or mixture is appropriate.

Chemical substances to be placed on the market must be classified using one or both of the following approaches:

  • Use of harmonised classifications;
  • Self-classification by application of the criteria.

Mixtures will always have to be self-classified, i.e. they must be assessed on whether they meet the criteria for classification. For this assessment, any available harmonised classifications of the substances contained in the mixture must be taken into account.

Manufacturer, importer, or downstream user of chemicals
Like the REACH Regulation, CLP focuses on all manufacturers and downstream users of chemicals as well as importers and distributors who are involved with chemical products. Depending on their role, suppliers have obligations. The obligations of a supplier of a substance or mixture depend on his role under CLP. In general, manufacturers, importers and downstream users of substances and mixtures which will be placed on the market must check that they meet the criteria for classification, independent of the tonnage involved.