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EU countries vote in favour of the European Commission’s proposal to harmonise hazard and safety information for use by Poison Centres

21 September 2016


Today, EU countries have voted in favour of a Commission proposal which will improve the availability of information on chemicals, needed in case of poisoning. This harmonisation will lead to better health protection for EU citizens and at the same time save EU producers and importers of chemical mixtures approximately €550 million annually.

In cases of accidental poisoning by hazardous chemical mixtures used in, for example, cleaning products, paints, fuel and pesticides, citizens can call their national poison centre for an emergency health response, which is based on the information provided by the chemicals' manufacturers. Today, each EU country has its own legal requirements defining such information. A chemicals producer selling their products in several EU countries must provide information in multiple formats and to differing degrees of detail. This leads to a high administrative burden for industry and can result in an unequal level of emergency health response among EU citizens.

The proposal will lead to producers and importers of chemical mixtures providing uniform information on the product composition. At the same time, emergency responders in all EU countries will have the same medical information available, which for some countries will allow services to be improved. Through a new uniform product identifier, poison centres will be able to exactly identify the product and its composition, leading to better and more appropriate medical response and reducing unnecessary over-treatment which is often given to be on the safe side.

The Regulation will apply to mixtures for consumer use as of 2020. It also targets mixtures for professional and industrial use, for which requirements apply as of 2021 and 2024, respectively.