European Regulation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures

The CLP Regulation

European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures came into force on 20 January 2009 in all EU Member States, including the UK. It is known by its abbreviated form, ‘the CLP Regulation’ or just plain ‘CLP’.

The CLP Regulation adopts the United Nations’ Globally Harmonised System on the classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) across all European Union countries, including the UK.

As GHS is a voluntary agreement rather than a law, it has to be adopted through a suitable national or regional legal mechanism to ensure it becomes legally binding. That’s what the CLP Regulation does

As GHS was heavily influenced by the old EU system, the CLP Regulation is very similar in many ways. The duties on suppliers are broadly the same: classification, labelling and packaging.

The existing legislation on classification, labelling and packaging has been agreed at European Union level and, from 2015, will be directly applied on all EU member states, including the UK.

The rules they have to follow when they are classifying will change though, and a new set of hazard pictograms (quite similar to the old ones) are used:

GHS hazard pictograms

GHS Hazard Pictograms


Chemicals not covered by CLP

Most industrial chemicals are covered by the CLP Regulation. Some chemicals that have a more specialised job are covered by more specific legislation.

The CLP Regulation does not apply to the following chemicals:

  • radioactive substances and mixtures
  • substances and mixtures subject to customs supervision
  • non-isolated intermediaries
  • substances and mixtures for scientific research and development which are not placed on the market and are only used in controlled conditions
  • waste

The CLP Regulation does not apply to the following chemicals which are in the finished state intended for the final user:

  • medicines
  • medical devices
  • veterinary medicines
  • cosmetics
  • food
  • feeding stuffs (i.e. food additive; food flavouring; feeding stuffs used in animal nutrition)

Except where Article 33 applies, the CLP Regulation does not apply to the transport of dangerous goods by air, sea, road, rail or inland waterways. More information on the interface between CLP (supply) and transport labelling can be found in ECHA's guidance:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/chemical-classification/legal/clp-regulation.htm