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Classification, Labelling & Packaging (CLP): European Legislation (EC) No. 1272/2008

The Classification, Labelling & Packaging (CLP) regulations came into force in January 2009, in all EU member states, including the UK.


This European regulation deals with classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures and is adopted from the United Nations 'Globally Harmonised System' on the classification and labelling of chemicals (GHS).

Although the GHS was a voluntary agreement, it is adopted through suitable national and regional mechanisms to make it legally binding. The CLP provides the national or regional mechanisms.

The existing legislation on classification, labelling and packaging has been agreed at European Union level and, since 2015, it is directly applied on all EU Member States, including the UK.

The rules that must be followed include a new set of hazard pictograms - basically, an image on a label that includes a warning symbol and specific colours intended to provide information about the damage a particular substance or mixture can cause to your health or the environment.

Here are all the 9 CLP Pictograms: 

Compressed gas warning

What does it mean? 

  • Contains gas under pressure; may explode if heated.

  • Contains refrigerated gas; may cause cryogenic burns or injury.

Explosive warning

What does it mean? 

  • Unstable explosive

  • Explosive; mass explosion hazard

  • Explosive; severe projection hazard

  • Explosive; fire, blast or projection hazard

  • May mass explode in fire

What does it mean? 

  • May cause or intensify fire; oxidiser.

  • May cause fire or explosion; strong oxidiser.

Oxidising warning

What does it mean? 

  • Extremely flammable gas

  • Flammable gas

  • Extremely flammable aerosol

  • Flammable aerosol

  • Highly flammable liquid and vapour

  • Flammable liquid and vapour

  • Flammable solid

Flammable warning

What does it mean? 

  • May be corrosive to metals

  • Causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Corrosive warning

What does it mean? 

  • May cause respiratory irritation

  • May cause drowsiness or dizziness

  • May cause an allergic skin reaction

  • Causes serious eye irritation

  • Causes skin irritation

  • Harmful if swallowed

  • Harmful in contact with skin

  • Harmful if inhaled

  • Harms public health and the environment by destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere

Caution warning

What does it mean? 

  • Fatal if swallowed

  • Fatal in contact with skin

  • Fatal if inhaled

  • Toxic: if swallowed

  • Toxic in contact with skin

  • Toxic if inhaled

Toxic warning

What does it mean? 

  • May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways

  • Causes damage to organs

  • May cause damage to organs

  • May damage fertility or the unborn child

  • Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child

  • May cause cancer

  • Suspected of causing cancer

  • May cause genetic defects

  • Suspected of causing genetic defects

  • May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled

Health Hazard warning

What does it mean? 

  • Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects

  • Toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.

Aquatic hazard warning
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