ECHA: Some 33% of Safety Data Sheets Contain Errors and One-Third of Mixtures are Labeled Incorrectly

The REACH-EN-FORCE Project 6 of the ECHA implementation forum has found several violations of the legal requirements of the CLP Regulation. The ECHA announced its findings in December 2019 in a press release. 

The project began in 2018 and involved inspectors in 29 countries who examined 3,391 mixtures along with 1,620 manufacturers, importers, downstream users, and distributor. The inspectors wanted to create an overview of how well companies observed the requirement of Articles 4, 17, 29, 35, and 37 of the CLP Regulation and Article 31 of REACH. They limited their work to the examination of mixtures that are known to contain hazardous ingredients, such as laundry and cleaning agents, coatings, paints, thinners, paint removers, adhesives and sealants, and air fresheners. 

The ECHA has now published its comprehensive findings in a in a report. The most important findings include:  

  • Every second company violates legal requirements.  
  • Some 17% of the mixtures examined are classified incorrectly and are therefore labeled incorrectly, 
    making it impossible to guarantee their safe use.  
  • For every tenth mixture containing substances with a harmonized classification (mainly CMR substances and respiratory sensitisers) the harmonized classification and labeling were not applied 
  • More than one-third of mixtures were labeled incorrectly. 
  • The closures of the outer packaging of more than 20% of liquid laundry detergent capsules (LLDCs) were defective after the first use.  
  • Every third safety data sheet (SDS) that was examined contained errors. 

At the end of the report, the authors made a series of recommendations. 

They appealed to industry to classify mixtures correctly. Only correct classification ensures the compliance of safety data sheets. Such classification creates transparency in the supply chain, which presumes end-to-end transmission of information. That’s why companies must keep a careful eye on the quality of SDS.  

They call upon individual member states to create information campaigns to call the industry’s attention to the classification requirements of the CLP Regulation and the data requirements of safety data sheets.  

They recommend that the EU formulate Article 29 of the CLP Regulation (exceptions to and labeling and packaging regulations) to exclude any opportunity for differences in interpretation. Furthermore, the EU should develop harmonized tests for technical requirements of the LLDCs.  

The authors urge that the project be repeated in a few years to document the progress of compliance and monitor adherence to requirements.  

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