Chemicals: Clearer classification and labelling to improve info to consumers

Parliament has adopted its position on new rules to classify, label and package chemical substances and mixtures.

The European Parliament has adopted, with 519 votes in favour, 99 against and 8 abstentions, its position on the revision of the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation ((EC) No 1272/2008) aims at better identifying and classifying hazardous chemicals, improve communication on chemical hazards, and address legal gaps and high levels of non-compliance.

MEPs support the new formatting rules for hazard communication that will make labels more readable thanks to new requirements to minimum font size and colour and underline that all relevant actors in the supply chain including those selling them online must apply the new rules. Clear information to consumers about the hazardousness of various household chemicals such as cleaning products will enable them to make better-informed purchases of such products.

MEPs insist that all information notified to the public authorities concerning the classification and labelling inventory should be made publically available and they improved provisions related to access to justice for everyone with substantiated concern. Finally, MEPs also underline that testing on animals should be phased out as soon as possible.

Classification of chemicals
Following scrutiny by Parliament, new hazard classes for chemicals and criteria for classifying substances and mixtures entered into force on 20 April 2023. MEPs say that by 1 January 2026, the Commission must classify substances according to the new hazard classes if they have been included in the candidate list on 1 January 2025. The Commission shall also assess the introduction of hazard criteria for immunotoxicity and neurotoxicity by December 2025.

After the vote, rapporteur Maria Spyraki (EPP, Greece) said: “Today we have made a significant step towards protecting both the consumers and the environment. It is critical to increase the level of information provided for all products containing chemicals and address risks raising from on-line sales. It is also important to support our industry and SMEs to adapt and maintain their competitiveness, and provide enough resources to the European Chemicals Agency.”

Next steps
Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with EU member states on the final law.

All European citizens are exposed in their daily life to chemicals and the EU has built a comprehensive regulatory framework for chemicals management, with some 40 legislative instruments. This revision is part of the European Green Deal for the strengthening and simplification of the legal framework for chemicals to ensure a toxic-free environment and the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy adopted in October 2020. Parliament is still waiting for the Commission to present their proposal for the revision of the Regulation on chemicals’ registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction (REACH).