At present there are two parallel legislative frameworks in Finland valid for the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals (substances and mixtures). Of these, the framework to be phased out is based on the EU Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC) and the Dangerous Preparations Directive (1999/45/EC), implemented in Finland by the Chemicals Act (599/2013), the Chemicals Decree (675/1993) and the Decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on classification principles (807/2001, as amended). Furthermore, the new CLP Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, entered into force on 20 January 2009, is binding legislation in all EU and EEA member states. The classification, labelling and packaging of substances have been subject to the CLP Regulation as of 1 December 2010 – whereas a transition period until 1 June 2015 is applied to mixtures. At the conclusion of the transition period, only the CLP Regulation shall be valid, the two above-mentioned Directives being repealed.
Both frameworks lay down provisions on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals. Besides, the CLP Regulation applies to the classification, labelling and packaging of articles which contain certain dangerous substances. A dangerous chemical may pose physical hazards (in the framework to be phased out: fire and explosion hazards), as well as danger to health or the environment. The classification of a chemical takes place by comparing its characteristics with the criteria set in the legislation. In this, the risk the chemical causes in its use is not essential, but the internal characteristics are the only grounds for the classification. In case the chemical is classified as dangerous, it must labelled and packaged following the rules agreed upon in the legislation.
Pursuant to the CLP Regulation, the responsibility for the classification of chemicals placed on the market lies with manufacturers, importers and downstream users, while supplies are responsible for labelling and packaging. Manufacturers, producers of articles and importers shall also classify substances which are placed on the market that are subject to registration or notification to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) under the REACH Regulation.
The most visible difference between the framework to be phased out and the CLP Regulation is the new hazard pictograms in the labelling and the signal words Danger and Warning. The R- and S-phrases have been replaced by H- and P-statements (hazard and precautionary statements). There are also more hazard classes and categories than before. Furthermore, to some extent, the classification criteria and limit values differ from the framework to be phased out. A new provision is the duty of manufacturers and importers to notify the self-classified substances to the C&L Inventory run by ECHA.
In Finland, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is the competent authority for the CLP Regulation. The Regulations obliges the national competent authorities to operate a national helpdesk from which businesses can get answers to their questions about the scope of application of the Regulation.
Legislation on classification and labelling to be applied until 1 June 2015
Legislation on classification and labelling to be applied to substances on
1 December 2010 at the latest and to mixtures on 1 June 2015 at the latest: