Find out more about how hazardous information is used to classify and label chemicals to let people who use them know if they are dangerous.
The first step in understanding how dangerous a chemical is, is to find out if it has hazardous properties. To do this, you need to find out how toxic it is, its chemical properties and what happens to it in the environment. If this information gives cause for concern, you may need to generate further information to clarify its dangerous properties.
If a chemical has a dangerous property, this will often lead to a more detailed risk assessment. This assesses the releases of the chemical, and its exposure to the environment to see if the dangerous property is likely to affect the environment. If risks are confirmed a risk reduction strategy needs to be developed to reduce these risks to acceptable levels.
Classifying and labelling dangerous chemicals
The hazard information is used to classify and label chemicals and preparations of chemicals. The main aim of this is to encourage people to use chemicals safely by letting them know the dangerous properties they contain.
Chemicals may be classified as 'dangerous for the environment' based on the extent they are toxic, remain in the environment and have the potential to build up in animals and pass up the food chain. Substances that are considered dangerous to the environment carry an orange label showing a dead fish and tree to warn users of their potential impact on the environment.
The classification and labelling of certain chemicals has to be agreed at EU level and we represent the UK on environmental classification.