Cleaning products and GB CLP

Since the 1 June 2015, it has been a legal requirement that all mixtures have to be classified, labelled and packaged in line with the EU CLP Regulation. The UK's exit from the EU does not affect this requirement. This requirement still exists under the GB CLP Regulation.

Compared with the previous classification system (the CHiP Regulations), the methods used to classify products containing corrosive or irritant substances are more stringent, resulting in a higher number of cleaning products being classified and labelled as hazardous. This includes lower threshold concentrations and an 'additivity' method for calculating percentage concentrations of hazard substances in the mixture.

It does not mean that the chemical product is any more or less hazardous than it was under the previous classification regime. An example of where this might arise is in the labelling of particular cleaning products that are hazardous in contact with eyes.

If your product has been affected by the more stringent classification methods, sources of further information and help are provided at the bottom of this page.

GB CLP 'Corrosive' and 'Exclamation mark' pictograms

The CLP corrosive pictogram is used for both serious eye damage and skin corrosion, whereas the exclamation mark pictogram is used for skin irritants and eye irritants.

Corrosive pictogram

old irritant symbol

Corrosive pictogram

Under the EU and GB CLP Regulations, there is a clear distinction between the hazard labelling for products classified as serious eye damage (category 1, irreversible effects on the eye) and eye irritation (category 2, reversible effects on the eye). Products classified as category 1 are labelled with the hazard statement H318: Causes serious eye damage and the corrosive pictogram. Products classified as category 2 are labelled with H319: Causes serious eye irritation and the exclamation mark pictogram.

old irritant symbol

Exclamation mark pictogram

Exclamation mark pictogram

While this may be a little confusing, it is important to remember that pictograms are only one aspect of an EU CLP Regulation or GB CLP Regulation hazard label. Information about the hazards present is also given in the hazard statements on the label, and the precautionary statements will indicate how to use the product safely and what, if any, protective equipment is needed.

Reading the label in full will help users understand the hazards that are present and take appropriate action to protect themselves and others.

Where to go for advice

For suppliers of cleaning products that have been affected by the threshold concentration, further information is provided below.

If you are in any doubt about the hazards in any of the products that you use, contact the supplier (the contact details will also appear on the label) and clarify that the precautions you were taking before are still the right ones. In most cases you can continue to use the product as before.

For more information, please see:

  • A.I.S.E. - Read the Label leaflet with information for industrial and institutional users of detergents and cleaning products
  • British Cleaning Council - The Globally Harmonised System and Chemical Regulation: Challenges for the Cleaning Industry

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Updated: 2022-02-11