Requesting the use of an alternative chemical name for the GB market
When you supply a hazardous mixture, you must provide information about the hazardous ingredients on the label and in the safety data sheet (SDS). If you are concerned about revealing the composition of your mixture, you may be able to refer to an ingredient by a different (alternative) name.
You can request the use of an alternative chemical name if all three of the following requirements are met:
- you are a GB-based manufacturer, importer or downstream user (M/I/DU), or a NI-based M/DU supplying qualifying Northern Ireland goods (QNIG) directly to the GB market
- the substance (ingredient in the mixture) meets the criteria in Article 24 and Section 1.4 of Annex I of the GB CLP Regulation
- you can demonstrate that including the name of the substance on the label or SDS would put the confidential nature of your business at risk
Where granted, the alternative name can be used on the label and in the SDS for mixtures placed on the GB market.
The GB alternative name CANNOT be used for mixtures placed on the EU market.
HSE is responsible for administering requests for alternative chemical names in GB. This page offers more information on this provision and provides guidance for GB-based M/I/DU and NI-based M/DU who place mixtures on the GB market.
A brief description of the provision for alternative chemical names (Article 24 and Section 1.4 of Annex I of GB CLP)
You can request the use of an alternative chemical name for substances that:
- have not been assigned a workplace exposure limit
- are classified exclusively as one or more of the following hazard categories:
- any of the hazard categories referred to in Part 2 of Annex I of the GB CLP Regulation (physical hazards)
- Acute toxicity, Category 4
- Skin corrosion/irritation, Category 2
- Serious eye damage/eye irritation, Category 2
- Specific target organ toxicity – Single exposure, Category 2 or 3
- Specific target organ toxicity – Repeated exposure, Category 2
- Hazardous to the aquatic environment – Chronic Category 3 or 4
These classifications may be taken from the GB mandatory classification and labelling list (if the substance is listed), or they may be self-classifications which have taken into account all available information on the substance. If a substance is classified in a hazard category not listed above, or if it has a workplace exposure limit, an alternative chemical name cannot be used.
The purpose of this provision is to protect intellectual property. Therefore, if you wish to use an alternative chemical name, you must be able to provide reasonable evidence that disclosure of the chemical name would put the confidential nature of your business (particularly your intellectual property rights) at risk. You also have to demonstrate that the alternative chemical name provides enough information to allow the necessary health and safety precautions to be taken in the workplace and allows the mixture to be handled safely.
Content of requests
Your request to use an alternative chemical name must contain the following information:
- your identity
- the identity of the substance for which an alternative chemical name is sought
- the proposed alternative chemical name for the substance
- information on the classification and labelling of the substance (including the SDS of the substance where available to the M/I/DU)
- the identity of the mixture(s) containing the substance
- the SDS of the mixture(s) containing the substance
- reasonable evidence that disclosure of the chemical name would put the confidential nature of your intellectual property at risk
- justification that the alternative chemical name provides enough information for the necessary health and safety precautions to be taken in the workplace and allows the mixture to be handled safely
Submission and processing of requests
You can use this template to submit the information.
Each request should cover a single substance. If you wish to request alternative names for more than one substance, you will need to submit separate requests for each substance. However, a single request can cover multiple mixtures. Where a single request applies to multiple mixtures, it is helpful (where possible) to group the mixtures in the submission form where the members of the group have:
- the same hazardous constituents present in the same concentration range
- the same classification and labelling
- the same expected uses
You can send the completed request(s) using the template as an electronic document (Word, RTF or PDF) to [email protected].
We will confirm receipt of the request (by e-mail) and give you a reference number. This number should be quoted in any correspondence with HSE regarding the request.
We will process requests for alternative chemical names according to the criteria detailed in the GB CLP Regulation, and let you know the result by email. In some cases, we may request further information from you to help us process the application.
Where a request is granted, we will send you confirmation of the alternative chemical name and a list of the mixtures for which the alternative name can be used.
Where a request is rejected, we will explain the reasons behind our decision. In some cases, we may grant the use of an alternative chemical name, but it will be different to the one you have requested. Again, we will explain the reasons behind our decision.
We will process requests within 6 weeks of receipt. If we request further information to help us process the application, the 6 weeks will start when this information is received. If we do not raise any objections within six weeks, you may consider that the use of the alternative chemical name is allowed for mixtures placed on the GB market.
You can build upon your original request and extend it to include additional mixtures. In such cases, only a small amount of extra information is required, providing the other details in the original submission have not changed.
In the additional request you should provide the HSE reference number of the original request, and the information outlined in section 5, 6, and 7 of the Alternative Name Request Form.
If the additional request is granted, we will send you an updated acceptance email which will include a full list of mixtures for which the alternative name may be used.
Providing supporting information
You do not need to provide supporting evidence (such as a bibliography) when the classification of the substance has been taken from the GB mandatory classification and labelling list and where additional hazard classes and/or differentiations have not been included.
When a substance is self-classified, you must show that the self-classification takes account of all existing pertinent information on the substance. The information provided in the SDS for the substance will suffice, if it is clear that a diligent search of the scientific literature has occurred and allows an assessment of the potential health and environmental hazards to be made. If the SDS is not available for the substance, or the SDS does not contain enough information, a separate bibliography will be required.
The relevant information that you should consider when classifying a substance is outlined in Article 5 of the GB CLP Regulation.
Generally, the bibliography should contain references to appropriate studies or information sources. It is also important to state clearly when no data for a particular endpoint was found.
If you use information described in section 1 of Annex XI to UK REACH (for example a ‘read-across’ analysis from another similar substance), you should present a clear and scientifically robust argument supporting your approach.
Classification for physical hazards does not impact directly on the request, so you do not need to provide a bibliography for these hazard classes.
While we may grant the request based on the classification information presented, this does not represent an endorsement by HSE of the self-classification.
Changes to the submitted information
If the classification of the substance changes, and it no longer meets the criteria in section 1.4 of Annex I of the GB CLP Regulation, then you will no longer be able to use the alternative name. You will need to refer to the substance in the mixture in accordance with the requirements of Article 18(3) of the GB CLP Regulation, which covers the product identifier requirements for mixtures.
If we become aware that the alternative name does not provide sufficient information to allow the mixture to be used safely, we will review our decision and may amend this by specifying a different name or withdrawing the decision.
If you are unhappy with HSE’s decision, you should contact the HSE alternative chemical names team at [email protected] to try to resolve the issue, or to receive an explanation on how the decision was reached.
There is currently no fee for the submission of a request or the extension of a request to include additional mixtures. This policy will be kept under review.