10 July 2006 00:00 [Source: ICB]
The Human and Environmental Risk Assessment group (Hera) and the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (AISE), has called on European institutions to introduce clearer labelling for consumer products.
Speaking at a workshop on Reach and the Globally Harmonised System for classification and labelling (GHS) – held in Brussels, in June – Claude Mancel, chairman of the Hera sponsors committee, said: ‘Under the up-coming Globally Harmonised System, many everyday cleaning products could be labelled with alarming symbols based on the intrinsic properties of chemicals, rather than real conditions of use. Such labelling will not help consumers to differentiate between products that truly have to be used with caution and everyday products that they have been using safely for many years.’
Charles Laroche, president of AISE, added: ‘The combination of both Reach and GHS should help the consumer to use cleaning products in a safe way, and not cause confusion through hyberbolic labelling.’
But European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC) said that consumers want more information about chemicals in products and that it was not enough to tell them only about risk, they also need information about hazards.
‘Providing only risk communications on products will deny consumers of their certain core rights,’ BEUC said.
‘Consumer amendments relating to risk based information are far from consumer-friendly, these proposed amendments consider slowly replacing hazard labelling with risk communication. This is unacceptable’, BEUC added.
The GHS will standardise safety information sheets and product labels worldwide. It will apply to the manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of chemical products, and will affect employees and emergency services, as well as consumers. Europe is expected to introduce the GHS by 2008. There has been concern that its introduction, along with the implementation of the Reach legislation will be very costly for small and medium-sized enterprises. There is still disagreements on the sort of information that is to be placed on products that are available to the general public.
>> For more on this visit: www.heraproject.com/
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