Safety information on soaps, detergents and maintenance products are currently conveyed in two ways:
- Through hazard labelling that is required by law
- Through safety information developed proactively by A.I.S.E. as applicable for voluntary use by companies. See safe use icons
Hazard labelling: In certain cases, the law obliges manufacturers to provide hazard information (hazard symbols and the corresponding risk and safety sentences) on the label. In order to obtain the information which will determine the hazard symbols and sentences which need to be placed on the label, manufacturers must first classify their product. Classification of a product involves careful analysis of the properties of the ingredients contained in a product and their levels of concentration which - according to the Dangerous Substances Directive and the Dangerous Preparations Directive - may be regarded as dangerous*. These two European Directives are being replaced by a new Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemicals (CLP Regulation) , aligned with globally harmonised rules. This means new warning labels will gradually appear on cleaning product packages. For more information click here. The basic principles of safety assessment will remain similar.
First, manufacturers need to assess the hazard characteristics of all the substances in the product. Secondly, they use the calculation method and/or toxicological testing to judge whether the product as a whole is hazardous.
The testing and calculation methods are part of the EU Test Methods Regulation (EC) no. 440/2008, the Dangerous Preparations Directive (99/45/EC) and the CLP Regulation (EC) no. 1272/2008) . It is the role of national authorities to monitor and ensure that manufacturers comply with the mandatory hazard information requirements on the label.
The information on hazard labelling mentioned above applies to the product as sold in its container. In other words, it does not take into account the fact that most products may be diluted before use. Moreover, the way in which the user may come into contact with the substances (therefore increasing or diminishing their chances of exposure to the substances’ hazardous effects, if any) is not considered by the law. This means that the label on the product is based on theoretical hazard information and does not inform the user about the actual effects based on real consumer exposure. For more information on the difference between risk and hazard please click here
Download the PDF document to find out more about the symbols and risk and safety phrasing
*The word ‘dangerous’ has the same meaning and is used in the same context as in the DPD