How label changes will affect you

No matter what specific industry you may be involved in, the chances are good that, at some point or another, the issue of product or service labelling will find its way to the forefront of discussion. In many ways, this is an inevitable evolution of consumer awareness and consumer advocacy, which, given the rate at which new products are entering the marketplace, seems entirely warranted.

For those who regularly engage with chemical labels and chemical-related products, it may be worth taking note that a new system of labelling classifications, inspired by the United Nations Global Harmonisation System, or GHS, is gradually being implemented within new Classification, Labelling and Package Regulation (CLP) legislation. The CLP legislation is designed to cover a comprehensive array of chemical products, including both industrial and household chemicals, as well as products commonly used in domestic exteriors, such as herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.

Central to the new reforms is the inclusion of up to nine hazard pictograms, each of which depict specific cautions or concerns that are relevant to the user. These red diamonds will replace the older warning symbols, which were square and orange.

Manufacturers producing these specific chemical products will be required change their chemical labels to implement the new labelling changes by 1st June, 2015. Distributors, suppliers and commercial centre who have previously purchased products containing the older labels will be forced to either sell or dispose of their previous inventory by 1st June, 2017. This generous cushion of time will allow businesses to ensure that previous stock remains viable and that no undue financial losses will be incurred.

Its important for chemical manufacturers to remember that no changes to the products themselves are currently being required. Only the labelling for these products is being targeted for revision. Although implementing these changes will require a substantial financial investment, there is no cause for concern regarding looming mandates related to the products themselves. More information about these changes can be found at on the official website of the EUs GHS and CLP regulations. Those who may have additional questions about these labelling reforms are advised to contact the aforementioned organisations in order to learn more about what specifically may be required from them.