Chemicals Often Wrongly Labeled

Cross-border trade in chemicals presents companies with major problems. DEKRA experts have drawn this conclusion from the recent inspection project of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Two thirds of imported chemicals were incorrectly labeled.

Customs and market surveillance authorities from 16 countries jointly monitored compliance with chemical rules for mixtures and articles. One major finding was that almost two thirds (64 percent) of imported chemicals had defective labels. As part of the project, 167 products were checked for compliance with classification, labeling, and packaging rules under the CLP Regulation (EU Regulation no. 1272/2008).

In the vast majority of cases, the labeling was incorrect, for instance because it was not written in the national language. Furthermore, H-phrases were often missing from the hazardous substance data or contained errors. Pictograms were frequently missing or incorrect, too. Around 20 percent of the defects involved wrong classification of the mixture.

This suggests to the DEKRA experts that cross-border trade in chemicals often overburdens those involved: The exporter is less familiar with the chemical rules of the destination country, and the importer often has less specialist knowledge than a formulator. In addition, the results show that the authorities are very keen for the label to be written in the national language.

DEKRA has been helping companies to comply with chemical rules for over 30 years. DEKRA prepares classifications, safety data sheets, and labels for chemicals. Furthermore, DEKRA advises on the marketability of products manufactured outside the EU.