In the EU, If substances or mixtures are supplied to the general public, child-resistant fastenings and/or tactile warnings of danger have to be attached to the packaging in case these substances or mixtures display certain hazards or if the packaging contains methanol or dichloromethane. The level of safe packaging of consumer products containing hazardous chemicals was checked by an enforcement project of the 15 EU Member States and countries in the European Economic Area.
A total of 797 products with hazardous chemicals were inspected. The majority of these were disinfectants, bleaches, and different kinds of cleaners for drains, toilets, ovens, and windows. All actors in the supply chain were inspected. The majority were distributors, in particular retailers. Out of the inspected products, 230 did not meet the requirements for classification, labelling and packaging under the CLP Regulation. This is an overall non-compliance rate of 29 %.
In 32 cases (4 %), the inspectors proved that products containing hazardous chemicals were not adequate to prevent children from opening them and thus they did not meet the legal requirements for child-resistant fastening. Most of the products were classified as skin corrosion category 1 or aspiration hazard category 1. Some of the frequent issues the inspectors encountered were unreliable certificates and certificates without clear reference to the packaging.
For 77 products (10 %) either the required tactile warning of danger was not on the packaging or it was not placed correctly. The classification and labelling relating to the child-resistant fastening requirements was incorrect in 66 cases (8 %). In a small number of cases, products were found to be designed in a way that could attract the curiosity of children and, therefore, were not compliant with the CLP Regulation.
As a result of the project, 411 legal actions and enforcement measures were taken by the inspectors. 24 products were prohibited from being placed on the market and another 24 products were withdrawn from the market. Most of the legal actions were verbal or written advice and administrative orders. In several cases, companies were also willing to take voluntary actions to comply with the legislation.
The project was carried out by a working group that made recommendations to the concerned industry as well as to the authorities (The European Commission, ECHA and national enforcement authorities). The recommendations were on how to improve the safety of children and reduce non-compliance with the requirements for child resistant fastenings across Member States.
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Helsinki, Finland