An article is an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than does its chemical composition.
A producer of an article is any natural or legal person who makes or assembles an article within the Community.
These definitions are the same in both the CLP and the REACH Regulations.
In a general sense, an article can usually be considered to be a finished product. Some examples of articles are clear cut, for example a telephone, a chair and a car.
However, sometimes it is not as easy to tell if something meets the definition of an article. For example, a metal bar can be an article if it has already been produced with a certain shape or size so that it can be engineered into another object. However it will not be an article if it hasn’t been produced in this way and is simply to be melted to make another metallic object.
The REACH Regulation provides a more considered understanding of what an article might be.
The guidance prepared for REACH provides an excellent overview of how suppliers can determine whether or not they are supplying an article. A discussion of this can be found both as, guidance on the website of the European Chemicals Agency and also in a environment fact sheet available from the HSE REACH web pages.
The position under the CLP Regulation is reasonably straightforward – CLP applies to chemical substances and mixtures, and to the following specific types of article:
If a product being placed on the market does not meet the definition of an article, but is instead a chemical substance or mixture, then the full provisions of the CLP Regulation should be applied.