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 (like as paints, inks glues and oils).

Most chemicals are not hazardous if they are used properly and provided 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 fundamental to design of much of the current chemical legislation on how to supply, use and dispose of chemicals safely. The process that identifies the way chemicals can cause harm - the hazards - is called classification.

The web pages below will help explain the GB 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.

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Updated: 2022-11-08