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Classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals

Ensuring that hazards presented by chemicals are clearly communicated through classification and labelling


Chemicals pose risks that should be indicated throughout the supply chain. The EU therefore has legislation in place that requires companies to classify, label and package their chemicals before placing them on the market.

The  Regulation incorporates the classification criteria and labelling rules agreed at UN level - the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).


With the CLP Regulation, the EU aims to protect workers, consumers and the environment as well as the free movement of substances, mixtures and articles.


The Regulation on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP) entered into force on 20 January 2009. It incorporates the classification criteria and labelling rules agreed at UN level, the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

The CLP Regulation

  • requires manufacturers, importers or downstream users of substances or mixtures to classify, label and package their chemicals appropriately before placing them on the market
  • establishes legally binding hazard identification and classification rules
  • sets out common rules on labelling for consumers and workers to enable them to make informed decisions when purchasing or using dangerous products

CLP revision

As announced in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, on 19 December 2022, the Commission proposed a revision of the CLP Regulation, and introduced new hazard classes for endocrine disruptors and other harmful substances.

The revised Regulation provides more clarity on labelling issues, such as readability and digital labelling, and increases compliance with CLP for online sales of chemicals. This helps businesses, including SMEs, and the free movement of substances and mixtures at EU level.

More specifically, the revision introduces

  • better and faster processes for all actors to inform on hazards of chemicals placed in the EU market.
  • improved communication of chemical hazards, including online, through simpler and clarified labelling and advertising requirements.
  • the right for the Commission to develop classification proposals on potentially hazardous substances, in addition to Member States and industry, speeding up the pace at which hazardous substances are identified.
  • the first ever specific rules for refillable chemical products so consumers buy and use these products (e.g. home care chemicals) in a safe way.

The Commission proposal amending the CLP Regulation is now subject to the approval of the European Parliament and Council.

The impact assessment and the revision proposal were informed by existing reviews and studies, and a new study that assessed policy options and impacts. Comprehensive consultations with stakeholders took place to ensure that all views and relevant information were considered. Those consultations include

Related links

ECHA webpage on CLP

Main law: CLP Regulation

Related topics: Chemicals

Related strategies: Chemicals strategy

Related Commission priorities: European Green Deal 


For questions about EU environmental policy, please contact Europe Direct.