The EC wants to improve information about chemicals.

SW – 12/2021

The EC has launched a public consultation on "Simplifying and digitising labelling rules" for chemicals. It is seeking the views of stakeholders and citizens regarding the introduction of digital labelling of many everyday products such as adhesives, detergents, dishwashing products as well as fertilisers under Regulation (EU) No. 1272/2008, the classifying, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation) under Regulation (EU) No. 648/2004 covering detergents and Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 that stipulates the rules for making EU fertiliser products available on the market.

The evaluation of the most relevant legislation covering chemicals and the regulation covering detergents, i.e. substances or mixtures containing soaps or other detergents intended for washing and cleaning processes, would have shown that the understanding of labelling as well as consumer protection could be improved. The Regulation (EU) No. 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH Regulation) was excluded from this evaluation.

Through a legislative initiative, the EC wants to improve the communicating of information about chemicals, which should reduce the negative effects of hazardous chemicals on health and the environment, as well as making compliance easier, increasing cost-effectiveness and competitiveness as well as minimising the regulatory burden on the chemical industry. Simplifying the labelling requirements for some categories of chemicals and chemical products and digital labelling will help to realise these objectives.

Back in July 2021, the EC presented a so-called "impact assessment in the initial phase", which envisaged two options for action: firstly, simplifying the information by removing or even adding information (relevant only for the CLP and detergent regulations). Secondly, by changing the way certain information is currently provided, e.g. moving from physical labels to digital tools (relevant for the CLP, detergents and fertiliser regulations).

The EC hopes that this initiative will lead to greater safety for consumers and product users as well as better health protection. Significant effects on employment and the labour markets are not expected, but better communications could improve working conditions, e.g. through better placement of the product instructions. Further detailed policy options will be developed in the context of a comprehensive impact assessment after the relevant data has been collected.

Participation in the consultation is open until February 16, 2022. According to current planning, the EC will present its initiative during the fourth quarter of 2022. Further information and the consultation questionnaire can be found at the following link.