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Classification

A chemical is not just something used by scientists in laboratories.

Most people use chemicals in their home every day and many use them as part of their job. By ‘chemicals’ we mean single substances (such as acetone) or mixtures (sometimes called preparations) such as paints, inks glues and oils.

Most chemicals that are not dangerous if they are used properly and it is clear what to do if something goes wrong, such as a spillage. But some chemicals need more careful handling than others.

Knowing the potential for a chemical to cause harm either to people or the environment is the key to much of the current chemical legislation designed to supply, use and dispose of chemicals safely. The process that identifies the way chemicals can cause harm – the hazards – is called classification.

These web pages will help explain the laws on classification, the legal requirements that you may have to meet, and details of where you can find detailed guidance or where you can go for further advice.

Updated: 2013-07-25