Improve ‘inefficient’ CLP processes, trade bodies say

Industry associations have criticised the European Commission’s handling of substance processing and data under the classification, labelling and packaging Regulation (CLP). Under the Regulation, harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) processes for substances registered for approval more than ten years ago are still under evaluation, within a legal framework that has “changed extensively”, Cefic, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and the European Association of Chemical Distributors (Fecc) say. Alongside other industry bodies, NGOs and member states, they have submitted comments to the European Commission’s consultation on the regulatory fitness of chemicals legislation, excluding REACH. Cefic flags “inefficiencies” in the CLH process, regarding changes that affect the existing elements of harmonised classification and labelling in Annex VI of CLP. Historical records on these intentions need to be made publicly available, Cefic says. Such a registry would be of “great assistance” to companies when determining their classification globally, and identifying if they hold actual new data that challenges existing Annex VI elements. Cefic also points to “coordination problems” between the procedures for CLP classification and adjustments for the Ecolabel criteria, which sometimes requires “fast-track derogations for which no established process is currently in place”. Meanwhile, Fecc says data requirements and applicability of classification methods are especially challenging for importers of chemical mixtures. More flexibility is needed to enable better utilisation of all relevant data on mixture properties, it says. C&L inventory Further criticism is directed at the EU’s classification and labelling (C&L) inventory – under CLP, substance manufacturers and importers must notify the classification of their substances to this. But Cefic says solutions supporting bulk notifications are not efficient, which leads to a “significant compliance burden”, and there is “no clarity” on obligations related to substances that are no longer in a company’s portfolio. The International Molybdenum Association recently called for an inventory database cleanup to remove erroneous information and asked for notifier details to be made public. But doing this could jeopardise confidential data, Cefic’s REACH director Erwin Annys has said. ECHA, in its second five-year report on the operation of REACH and the CLP, said the Commission should consider changing the latter law to allow the sharing of contact details of notifiers and registrants and to make notifications time-limited. Meanwhile, ECHA and metals trade body Eurometaux are leading a pilot project to encourage companies to come to agreed hazard classifications for the same substance. Global problem Lack of harmonisation permeates the global platform, the associations say. The fact that various non-EU countries “implement different building blocks” of the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS) is “not sufficiently addressed” in the CLP legislation and in practice, especially in labelling, Cefic says. This means more communication is needed in the supply chain, which incurs “significant costs”. Another sore point for businesses is duplication of procedures to satisfy similar national requirements in other parts of the world, with data submissions under South Korea’s K-REACH being a case in point. “Further efforts are necessary to ensure existing work done by businesses is recognised in other global emerging regulation,” the CIA says. Further information is available at: Cefic comments Fecc comments CIA comments

Chemical Watch, 29 March 2017 ; ;