Overview of European Chemicals Legislation

Legislation that regulates the handling of chemicals in schools within the EU.

Table of Contents

General Principles of EU Chemical Law

There are multiple EU laws that are applicable to chemical risks. The general principles for EU chemical law include:

  • Prevention principle
    It is better to prevent than to repair.
  • Precautionary principle
    Authorities must take appropriate measures to prevent specific potential risks to public health, safety and the environment. These interests precede economic interests.
  • Polluter pays principle
    The one who causes pollution to the environment is responsible for paying for the damage.

Different Types of EU Legislation Relevant to Chemicals in Schools

Flowchart describing legislation relevant to chemicals in schools. EU regulations are directly applicable in all European Union countries. EU directives are adopted at EU level, and incorporated into national law by EU countries. Member states may have national legislation that is more restrictive than the EU requirements.
Overview of legislation.

EU Regulations

EU regulations are binding legislative acts for all member states and are directly applicable in all European Union countries. There are two regulations of particular importance for chemical safety:

  • The Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP) regulates how chemicals are classified with respect to hazard, and how the hazard and the relevant safe use and disposal is communicated. All hazardous chemical products in the EU must be labelled and packaged in accordance with the CLP-requirements, including solutions that are prepared and stored in schools.
  • The Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation (REACH) regulates chemicals, including by requiring industry to generate hazard and risk information and by restricting the use of certain chemicals because of their health or environmental hazards. It requires you, as a professional user, to read and comply with the information in the safety data sheet for all chemical products you use.

EU Directives

EU directives are adopted at EU level, and incorporated into national law by the EU and EEA countries so the directives become national or regional laws. The Waste Framework Directive (WFD) and the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive (CMD) are examples of EU directives.

Additional National Laws

Both EU Regulations and EU Directives are binding legal acts. However, the member states may have national legislation that is more restrictive than the EU Directives.

Published: 
30.06.2022

Last modified: 

15.09.2022
To cite this page, we suggest the following format (APA 7):
Online Resources for Chemical Safety in Science Education. (2022, September 15).
Overview of European Chemicals Legislation.