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EU Regulations Overview

Today's European legislation on chemicals is primarily shaped by the current EU regulations.

CLP Regulation

The CLP Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008 incorporates the rules on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemical substances and mixtures, and was agreed on 18 December 2006 before being published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 30 December 2006. The law as amended including the implementing legislation can be found on the European Commission website.

REACH Regulation

The REACH Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 governs the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, and was agreed on 18 December 2006 and published on 30 December 2006 in the Official Journal of the European Union. The law as amended including the implementing legislation can be found on the European Commission website.

Regulation (EU) No. 453/2010

Outlines the format and content of safety data sheets for hazardous substances and mixtures.

PIC regulation, (eu) 649/2012

In addition to implementing the Rotterdam Convention, the regulation concerning the import and export of hazardous chemicals also covers industrial chemicals and pesticides that are banned or severely restricted in Europe.

Furthermore, the supervisory bodies of the federal provinces, as well as the customs authorities, are both involved in controlling the import and export of hazardous chemicals. The related working guidelines were announced in the Federal Ministry of Finance's financial documentation (Findok).

The regulation's annexes are amended on a continuous basis. The PIC procedure, which is carried out by the Commission, the European Agency ECHA and the designated national authorities, is processed via the European database ePIC. The Commission has released a guide with further details.

The new version of this Regulation entered into force on 1 March 2014; the ePIC application was launched on 2 September 2014.

Regulation (ec) No. 850/2004 on persistent organic pollutants

Its international legal basis is the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Based on the precautionary principle, this Regulation aims at protecting human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs). This is to be achieved through the prohibition of listed pollutants not easily degradable in the environment, or the phasing out of their production as soon as possible (pollutants regulated are e.g. DDT, certain diphenyl ethers or hexachlorbenzene, HCB).

Mercury Export Regulation (EC) No. 1102/2008

Regulation (EC) No. 1102/2008 controls the export of mercury, certain mercury compounds, as well as particular mercury mixtures. In addition, the regulation also limits the quantity of mercury in products, and includes legislation on the safe storage of mercury.

Regulation (EU) no. 517/2014 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases

The United Nations Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol provide the legal basis of this Regulation, which aims to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol. It applies to the fluorinated greenhouse gases (HFCs, FCs and SF6) listed in Annex A of the Protocol. A detailed list of the currently recorded fluorinated greenhouse gases, including each of their Global Warming Potentials (GWP), can be found in Annex I of the Regulation.

The Regulation defines measures to reduce emissions, and outlines rules for the use, recovery and destruction of fluorinated gases, as well as the disposal of products and equipment containing these gases.

In addition, rules and regulations are set out that the labelling of products, as well as the reporting and monitoring of chemicals, must meet. Apart from bans on the marketing and use of fluorinated gases in certain areas, the Regulation particularly focuses on the training and certification of both companies and their personnel in the production and maintenance of servicing systems that use fluorinated gases, such as refrigeration or air conditioning equipment, fire extinguishing systems, and high-voltage switchgear, to name a few.

The qualification and certification requirements for companies and personnel are defined in four complementary regulations. Furthermore, the regulation specifies that equipment, such as air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, as well as fire extinguishing equipment, have to undergo regular leak checks, which also need to be documented.

EU Ozone Regulation 1005/2009 – Regulation (EC) on substances that deplete the ozone layer

With this Regulation, the European Union meets its obligations that stem from being party to the Vienna Convention on the protection of the ozone layer, and the Montreal Protocol on substances that lead to the depletion of the ozone layer. Accordingly, regulations were adopted at the community level, which call for the far-reaching bans on ozone-depleting substances.

In particular, the production, sale, and use of fully halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons (fully halogenated, brominated hydrocarbons), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethane, bromochloromethane and methyl bromide is prohibited.

Exemptions apply to certain areas only, such as the use of halons for ‘critical uses’, and the use of recycled HCFCs for the servicing or maintenance of refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

EC Detergent Regulation

EC Regulation No. 648/2004 on detergents went into effect on 8 October 2005 and is legally binding in Austria. Further, it is also enforceable, as per section 71 of the Austrian Chemicals Act 1996. The regulations defined in the EU Detergent Regulation concern the biodegradability of surfactants used in detergents, or substances used for washing and cleaning, the information about constituents on the packaging and labelling, and the datasheet for detergents.

Any detergent sold to the general public must have the relevant hazard label, if it possesses a dangerous property (e.g. corrosive), in addition to the specific labelling for detergents, which must include information on certain ingredients such as phosphates, surfactants, bleaching agents, and perfumes.

If they contain fragrance allergens, the allergenic perfume ingredients have to appear on the list of substances with their normal designation.

In the case of surfactants, the responsible manufacturers are required to provide a datasheet with further information on the Internet. The packaging has to include the relevant web-address.