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Päivi Jokiniemi and Paul Trouth
Article related to: CLP
Harmonising the information submitted on hazardous mixtures – new tools coming
To make it easier for poison centres to give advice in emergency situations, companies will need to put a unique formula identifier (UFI) on the labels of their hazardous mixtures. They will also have to give this identifier to the poison centres as part of the notification, which has to be in a harmonised format. The UFI generator is now available on ECHA’s Poison Centres’ website.
When a poison centre gets a call about an emergency related to chemicals, they need to be able to find out which substances in the product are causing the poisoning. Quick access to this information allows the poison centres to give the best possible advice to medical staff, consumers or workers that need help in an emergency situation.
Unique formula identifier
Importers and downstream users will need to put a unique formula identifier on the label of their hazardous mixtures. This identifier will create a direct and unambiguous link between the mixture they place on the market and the information on that specific mixture they provide to the poison centres. This will make it easier for the poison centres to instantly find the information they need to provide an appropriate emergency health response.
How do you generate the UFI?
Unique formula identifiers are needed from 2020 for hazardous mixtures intended for consumer use, and 2021 and 2024 for professional and industrial uses, respectively. Therefore, you don’t need to generate the codes yet, but it is a good idea to start preparing, because you need to make sure that the identifier will fit on the label of your mixture.
There are two ways to generate the UFI. ECHA’s website hosts the UFI generator, a web-based tool, which will allow you to insert your company’s VAT number and a formulation code that you have given to your formulation. The tool will then create the identifier for you.
Alternatively, you can integrate the UFI generator directly into your own IT-system. This could be particularly useful and efficient for companies managing large numbers of formulations and that need to create many identifiers.
You can already now get the developer's manual from ECHA’s Poison Centres’ website and start planning how to make the generator part of your own system.
Preparing the information in a harmonised format
Information on hazardous mixtures will need to be provided to poison centres in a harmonised format. You can choose between two tools to do this. A draft version of each of them is available on ECHA’s Poison Centres’ website and they will be updated in 2017.
The poison centre notification format is useful for companies that want to integrate the new data requirements in their own IT system. This could be the case for companies dealing with large numbers of formulations. You can already download the draft version of the format and see what you need to do to prepare your own system. However, remember to wait for the updated version before you start integrating it into your IT infrastructure.
If your company only manages a small number of formulations, you could also choose to use the online poison centre notification editor to prepare your submission for the poison centres in the correct harmonised format. This way, you can simply go to ECHA’s Poison Centres’ website and use the editor to prepare your notification. You can already familiarise yourself with a draft version of the tool.
Did you know?
Why do we have poison centres in the EU?
All Member States have a body that is appointed to receive data from importers and downstream users placing hazardous chemical mixtures on the market. These bodies are often referred to as poison centres. The centre is a hub for information on poisoning.
Besides offering a service to health care personnels and to the general public in cases of emergency, the centres also formulate preventive and curative measures and undertake statistical analysis.
The poison centres in the EU receive on average 600 000 calls every year related to different kinds of emergencies. About half of the cases are related to accidents involving children.
Who needs to act? Importers and downstream users
What needs to be done? Submit a notification on hazardous chemical mixtures to poison centres in the harmonised format with all the required information including:
When? Before placing a hazardous mixture on the market. Phased deadlines for the submission of information will apply on 1 January in a stepwise manner, depending on the intended use of the mixture:
What is a unique formula identifier?
- Poison centres
- European Commission's announcement on harmonising hazard and safety information for use by poison centres
- CLP Regulation
Text by Jakob Aahauge
Top image: Fotolia
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Biocidal Products Committee:
26 February-1 March
Committee for Risk Assessment:
Committee for Socio-Economic
18-22 March (tentative)
Management Board meeting:
Member State Committee:
13-17 May (tentative)