- Does the REACH 2018 registration deadline affect you?
- Get your substance identity right – here's how
- Skin sensitisation – new methods to replace animal testing
- How ECHA assesses your read-across
- Better consumer protection through child-resistant packaging
- Notifying the trade of hazardous chemicals more easily through ePIC
- Downstream user experience: REACH is fundamental
- Guest column: Investor perspective: why REACH matters for your bottom line
- RAPEX – keeping European consumers safe from chemical risks
Send your feedback to:echanewsletter (at) echa.europa.eu
Article related to: clp
Better consumer protection through child-resistant packaging
Packages containing hazardous substances or mixtures should not attract the curiosity of children and must be fastened in a way which makes it difficult for children to open them. This is specified in the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation.
Deficiencies in the packaging and fastening of products containing hazardous substances have been the cause of many accidents where children have been harmed. For example, in Sweden children are harmed by swallowing grill lighter fluids between 200 and 500 times every year.
According to the CLP Regulation, the design and shape of a package containing a hazardous substance or mixture must not attract the curiosity of children and should not mislead. This means that the package should not look similar to packaging used, for example, for foodstuffs or medicinal products. In addition, the regulation requires that products which contain certain hazardous substances and are sold to the general public must have specific child-resistant fastening.
When is a child-resistant fastening required?
The idea behind a child-resistant fastening is to make it more difficult for children to open packages that contain hazardous substances. An example of a child-resistant fastening could be a cap that requires a certain level of coordination and the use of both hands to open. This is something that is difficult for a child but does not prevent an adult from using the product.
A child-resistant fastening is required in all packages that are supplied to consumers and contain a substance or mixture with any of the following hazards:
- Acute toxicity in the highest categories (1-3): this means that the substance can cause poisoning after a single exposure. Products with this classification are usually not available to the general public but, for example, methanol-containing windscreen fluids, some antifouling products and some disinfectants for chemical toilets may be available to consumers and may have such an acute toxic effect.
- Toxicity to specific organs (STOT, category 1): this means that the substance can cause damage to certain organs, such as the liver or the lungs. Certain substances can have this harmful effect already after single exposure; with other substances repeated exposure is needed. For instance, varnishes can contain substances that are toxic to specific organs.
- Skin corrosion: this means that the substance can cause severe skin burns and eye damage. For example, drain unblockers and toilet cleaners may contain substances with this classification.
- Aspiration hazard: this means that after swallowing, the chemical enters the airways and can cause severe acute effects in the lungs, such as chemical pneumonia, varying degrees of pulmonary injury or even death. Products that contain volatile hydrocarbons, such as turpentine or grill lighter fluids, are classified for aspiration hazard.
Additionally, if a product contains methanol in a concentration of at least 3% or dichloromethane in a concentration of at least 1%, the package must have a child-resistant fastening. The use of both substances in consumer products in the EU has greatly decreased, but they may, for example, still be present in antifreeze products (methanol) and certain adhesives (dichloromethane).
Packaging of liquid laundry detergents
In recent years, liquid laundry detergents in soluble packaging have been the focus of additional attention because of their increased sales on the EU market. With their growing popularity, the number of severe incidents of poisoning and eye damage to children has also increased.
At the end of 2014, the CLP Regulation was amended to clarify the rules on the labelling and packaging of liquid laundry detergents in soluble packaging, to make sure that consumers know the risks of the products and get sufficient protection.
From 1 June 2015, liquid consumer laundry detergent capsules must be more resistant to pressure, must not dissolve too quickly and must contain a flavouring agent that causes a repulsive effect if a child puts the capsule in their mouth. The outer packaging of the single-use capsules must be opaque to make it more difficult for children to see the individual capsules inside. The outer packaging needs to be so designed that coordinated action of both hands is required to open the package. In addition, the precautionary statement "Keep out of reach of children" must be visibly printed on the outer packaging.
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 1297/2014
- CLP pictograms
- Specific labelling and packaging situations
- C&L Inventory
- CLP quiz
Enforcing packaging requirements
ECHA's Forum of Enforcement Authorities is kicking off a project focusing on the safe packaging of consumer products requiring child-resistant fastening. Typical examples of such products with child-resistant fastenings are grill lighter fluids, disinfectants, cleaning and laundry products as well as drain unblockers.
Inspectors in 15 Member States will target companies – from manufacturers to retailers – to check that products supplied to the general public meet the requirements.
The inspections will run from July to December 2015 and a final report will be published in June 2016.
Text by Päivi Jokiniemi
Top image: ECHA
| || |
Sign in to comment and/or rate this article.
Biocidal Products Committee:
26 February-1 March
Committee for Risk Assessment:
6-8 March and
Committee for Socio-Economic
Management Board meeting:
23-27 March (tentative)
Member State Committee:
20-24 April (tentative)