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Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC)

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Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC)

Directive 67/548/EEC
European Union directive
Text with EEA relevance
Title Directive on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances
Made by Council
Made under Art. 100 (EEC)
Journal reference L196, 16.8.1967, pp. 1–98
EEA Agreement Chap. XV of Annex II
Date made 27 June 1967
Came into force 29 June 1967
Implementation date 1 January 1970
Preparative texts
EP opinion OJ 209, 11.12.1965, pp. 3133–40
Other legislation
Amended by External list
Replaced by Reg. (EC) No 1272/2008
(from 1 June 2015)
Current legislation

The Dangerous Substances Directive[1] (as amended) was one of the main European Union laws concerning chemical safety, until its full replacement by the new regulation CLP regulation (2008), starting in 2016. It was made under Article 100 (Art. 94 in a consolidated version)[2] of the Treaty of Rome. By agreement, it is also applicable in the EEA,[3] and compliance with the directive will ensure compliance with the relevant Swiss laws.[4]


  • Scope 1
  • Classification of dangerous substances 2
  • Danger symbols 3
  • Standard Risk and Safety phrases 4
  • Packaging requirements 5
  • Labelling requirements 6
  • Material safety data sheet 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The directive applies to pure chemicals and to mixtures of chemicals (preparations) that are placed on the market in the European Union, therefore it does not apply directly to substances created purely for research purposes. Additional rules concerning preparations are contained in the Dangerous Preparations Directive (1999/45/EC):[5] these are very similar to the rules contained in the Dangerous Substances Directive 67/548/EEC.[6] The directive does not apply to the following groups of substances and preparations (Art. 1):

The directive does not apply to the transport of dangerous substances or preparations.

Classification of dangerous substances

Article 2 of the directive lists the classes of substances or preparations that are considered to be dangerous. Some, but not all, of these classes are associated with a chemical hazard symbol and/or a code.

  • Explosives (E)
  • Oxidizing agents (O)
  • Flammable substances or preparations, classified as extremely flammable (F+), highly flammable (F)
  • Toxic substances or preparations, classified as very toxic (T+) or toxic (T)
  • Harmful substances or preparations (Xn)
  • Corrosive substances or preparations (C)
  • Irritants (Xi)
  • Sensitizers
  • Carcinogens (Carc.), classified into three categories
  • Mutagens (Mut.), classified into three categories
  • Substances or preparations that are toxic for reproduction (Repr.), classified into three categories
  • Substances or preparations that are dangerous for the environment (N)

Substances or preparations falling into one or more of these classes are listed in Annex I of the directive, which is regularly updated. A public database of substances listed in Annex I is maintained by the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection.

Danger symbols

The danger symbols are defined in Annex II of the directive. A consolidated list with translations into other EU languages can be found in Directive 2001/59/EC.[7]

Standard Risk and Safety phrases

The standard phrases are defined in Annexes III and IV of the directive. Annex III defines phrases relating to the Nature of special risks attributed to dangerous substances and preparations, often referred to as R-phrases. Annex IV defines phrases relating to Safety advice concerning dangerous substances and preparations, often referred to as S-phrases.

The appropriate standard phrases must appear on the packaging and label of the product and on its MSDS. Annex I specifies the standard phrases to be used for substances that are listed there: these are obligatory.

The lists of standard phrases were updated in 2001, and Directive 2001/59/EC provides a consolidated list in all EU languages.[7]

The last update is European directives (EC) N°1272/2008, according the new CLP regulation that implement the GSH system). See the current European chemical hazard symbols (CLP/GHS_hazard_statements).

Packaging requirements

(Article 22)

Labelling requirements

(Articles 23-25) In general, the label on the packaging of a dangerous substance or preparation must clearly indicate the following items:

  • The name of the substance; (for substances listed in Annex I, the name indicated must be one of those listed in the Annex (many substances appear in the Annex under different synonyms): otherwise, the name should be "internationally recognized")
  • The name, full address and telephone number of the person or company which has placed the substance on the market (manufacturer, importer or distributor);
  • The danger symbols, if any;
  • The standard phrases, if any; (certain exemptions are permitted)
  • The EINECS number or equivalent;
  • For substances listed in Annex I, the words EEC label.

Material safety data sheet

Article 27 of the directive imposes an obligation on suppliers to provide a material safety data sheet, on paper or electronically, at or before the first delivery of a dangerous substance or preparation. The supplier is also obliged to inform users of any relevant new information which becomes known. Directive 2001/58/EC provides detailed guidance for the preparation of material safety data sheets.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Full title: Council Directive 67/548/EEC of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous substances.
  2. ^ "European Union — Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community" (pdf). Official Journal of the European Communities (C 321E): 1–331. 2006-12-29. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  3. ^ Art. 23 and Chapter XV of Annex II, Agreement on the European Economic Area signed in Oporto, 1992-05-02; came into force 1994-01-01.
  4. ^ Art. 2.1 of the Regulation of 28 June 2005 of the Federal Interior Ministry on the official classification and labelling of substances (SR/RS 813.112.12, text in French, German, Italian). See also the Swiss Federal Law on Chemical Products (SR/RS 813.1, text in French, German, Italian) and the Swiss Federal Regulations on Chemical Products (SR/RS 813.11, text in French, German, Italian).
  5. ^ Directive 1999/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 May 1999 concerning the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous preparations. OJEC L200, 30.7.1999, pp. 1–68.
  6. ^ The European Court of Justice ruled in 1985 that Directive 67/548/EEC applies only to pure substances, not preparations: Re criminal proceedings against Giacomo Caldana (Case 187/84 – Art. 177 (EEC) referral by the Pretore di Torino). Judgement 26.9.1985. European Court reports [1985] 3013.
  7. ^ a b c Commission Directive 2001/59/EC of 6 August 2001 adapting to technical progress for the 28th time Council Directive 67/548/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances. OJEC L225, 21.8.2001, pp. 1–333.

External links

  • The directive on dangerous substances Includes a non-official consolidated (August, 2008) version of the directive
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