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All chemical products on the European market must be labelled. The label and packaging must provide clear information and help minimise risks.

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    General rules

    Since 1 June 2017, all chemical products on the European market must be labelled according to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 concerning the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures.Those making a biocidal product available on the market in Belgium must also ensure that it is properly classified, packaged and labelled, according to the current legislation. With regard to packaging and labelling, the following aspects are very important:

    • The label must not mislead the consumer about the hazards to the environment or to human or animal health. Indications such as ‘non-toxic’, ‘harmless’, ‘natural’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘animal friendly’, ‘low-risk biocidal product’ and other similar indications are strictly prohibited, both on the label and in advertisements.
    • The label must not cause any confusion regarding the efficacy of the product.
    • Biocidal products that may be mistaken for food, drink or animal feed must be packaged in such a way as to minimise confusion.
    • Biocidal products available to the general public must not be appealing to children and must therefore contain constituents with, for example, an unpleasant odour or taste to discourage their consumption.

    Biocidal products must always be supplied in their original and intact packaging. It is forbidden to distribute individual packages. No changes may be made to the original packaging or label.

    What must be displayed on the label?

    The label must display the following information in a clearly legible and indelible manner:

    • Trade name of the biocidal product
    • Contact details of the authorisation holder
    • Identity of each active substance and its concentration in metric units (e.g. permethrin 2.2 g/l)
    • Registration/authorisation number
    • User group for which the biocidal product is intended (general public, professionals or both)
    • Hazard pictograms, hazard (H) statements, precautionary (P) statements and signal words (‘danger’ or ‘warning’)
    • Any nanomaterials incorporated in the product and the risks associated with them, where the term <<nano>> should appear in parentheses after each mention of a nanomaterial
    • Uses for which the biocidal product is authorised
    • The statement ‘Read instructions before use’ if the product is delivered with an information leaflet and, where appropriate, warnings for vulnerable groups
    • Phone number of the Poison Centre

    If the biocidal product contains micro-organisms, the label must also meet the labelling requirements of the European Union for protecting employees against the risks of biological agents.

    If there is insufficient space on the label, the following information may also be indicated on the packaging or in the information leaflet:

    • Instructions for use, how often the product may be used and the correct dosage expressed in metric units, where all the instructions must be written in a clear and comprehensible manner for each type of use mentioned in the Certificate of Authorisation or Certificate of Registration
    • Instructions on possible undesirable, direct or indirect side effects and for the administration of first aid
    • Instructions for safe disposal of the biocidal product and its packaging, where reuse of packaging may be prohibited, if necessary
    • Batch number or batch designation of the mixture and the expiry date (under normal conditions of storage)
    • Type of formulation or mixture: liquid, granules, powder, etc.
    • If applicable:
      • Time needed for the biocidal product to have an effect
      • Interval to be respected by the user between two treatments
      • Period of time before a treated product may be re-used/a treated area may be re-entered
      • Instructions for ventilating a treated area
      • Instructions for proper cleaning of the equipment
      • Precautions to be taken when using or transporting a biocidal product
      • Information on specific environmental hazards, particularly information on how to prevent water contamination and ensure the protection of organisms for which the biocidal product is not intended

    From 2021 onwards, a UFI code (unique formula identifier) must be displayed on the label of new hazardous chemical products. From 2025 onwards, this UFI code will become mandatory for all hazardous chemical products.

    The label does not need to indicate whether it involves a closed-circuit biocidal productHowever, closed-circuit biocidal products must be explicitly indicated on sales invoices and receipts with the statement: ‘This product is classified as a closed-circuit biocidal product.’ The brochures ‘Chemical products: protect yourself, read the label!’ (Chemische producten: bescherm jezelf, lees het etiket!) and ‘Read before use to save lives’ (Lezen voor gebruik kan levens redden) will provide you with more information about the labelling of chemical products.

    Additional recommendations

    The Poison Centre regularly receives calls about accidents involving chemical products, especially biocidal products. When an accident occurs, doctors sometimes find it difficult to identify a product quickly and accurately. Therefore, the labelling must be developed with the utmost care and in compliance with the legislation.

    You can design a reliable label based on these recommendations:

    • Select a trade name that allows for an immediate and unambiguous identification of the product. The name of the product should not be too general or such that it may be confused with other similar product names.
    • Place the product information on the label such that immediate identification is possible. If the product information is located in an inappropriate place and/or drawn up in an unclear format, it may hinder identification.
    • Indicate the authorisation/registration number clearly, preferably below the product name.
    • Mention the customary name of the chemical constituents rather than the IUPAC name (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry).
    • Draw attention to the risks associated with the use of the biocidal product in combination with other products or the risks that are not directly indicated with a hazard pictogramFor example, a warning that hypochlorites should not be mixed with acids.
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