In most of the cases, suppliers need to decide on the classification of a substance or mixture. This is called self-classification.

There are normally four basic steps to self-classify a substance or a mixture:

  • Collection of available information
  • Evaluation of the adequacy and reliability of the information
  • Review of the information against the classification criteria
  • Decision on classification

The classifications from the previous directives have been turned into CLP classifications. Suppliers may use these translations if  both of the following conditions are met:

  • A substance was classified according to the Dangerous Substance Directive before 1 December 2010 or a mixture is classified according to the Dangerous Preparations Directive before 1 June 2015.
  • There are no further data available for the substance or mixture for the considered hazard class.

If required by REACH, manufacturers and importers also need to classify substances which are not placed on the market, such as on-site isolated intermediates, transported intermediates or substances for product and process-orientated research and development (PPORD).

Review of classifications

Manufacturers, importers and downstream users need to follow new scientific or technical developments and estimate whether a re-evaluation of the classification of the substance or mixture they place on the market should be done.

Harmonised classification and labelling

In some cases, the decision on the classification of a chemical is taken at Community level. It is mandatory for the suppliers of the respective substance or mixture to apply this harmonised classification and labelling.

This process often concerns the most hazardous substances. These are usually carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic for reproduction or respiratory sensitisers.

The harmonisation of the classifications aims at protecting human health and the environment while enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

All previously harmonised substances classifications under the previous legislation (Dangerous Substances Directive) have been converted into CLP harmonised classifications.

Member States, manufacturers, importers and downstream users may ask for the classification and labelling of a substance to be harmonised. Proposals can only be submitted for substances, and not for mixtures.

Current consultations