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Poison Centre Notification Portal Delay Proposal

This is an update to our previous post, Poison Centre Notification Portal June 2019, which summarised Poison Centre duties for companies making or importing mixtures.

In it, I referred to a rumour going round that the Poison Centre deadlines may be delayed.

Yesterday, Sunday 30th June, one of my very hard-working contacts sent through a draft proposal to extend the deadline for notifying consumer products to Poison Centres using the online portal for a year, that is from the 1st January 2020 to 1st January 2021. (Or in plain language, from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020!).

Things to be aware of:

  • this is a proposal, and it doesn’t mean it’s going to get passed
  • even if an extension to the deadline is approved, the deadline may end up being different to what’s proposed
  • only the consumer notification deadline would be delayed, the other deadlines would stay as they are

This is a very unusual step for the EU to take, as we have lived through a series of near-impossible deadlines for REACH (such as the original pre-registration deadline) which have never been extended.

Only a cynic would suggest that the EU don’t care if there are problems in industry with compliance, and they’re only doing this because the Poison Centres in individual Member States aren’t ready – but I may be that cynic!

While this proposed delay will be important for EU-based companies, it is more complicated for UK-based businesses, because of Brexit.

Briefly, UK law is going to be the same as EU law on the date of Brexit, so whatever is in place on Brexit Day will apply in the UK. (I had been going to email you about Brexit and CLP, but this news means that it will come out next week, other urgent news permitting).

In the case of Annex VIII to CLP, which brings in the Poison Centre Portal and using the Unique Formulation Identifier on the label of affected products, this does not officially come into force until the 1st January 2020.

So if the UK leaves the EU before that date, then:

  • the UK would not participate in the Poison Centre Notification Portal
  • the UK would not be obliged to use Unique Formulation Identifiers
  • different arrangements for the UK Poison Centre could apply, subject to internal discussions in the UK (e.g. we could stay as we are, with voluntary notification to the National Poison Information System by sending them Safety Data Sheets)

This would also mean that UK companies would not be able to use the Poison Centre Portal to notify inside the EU, because this can only be done by companies inside the EU.

UK businesses would need to appoint some kind of “Only Representative” to do this for their mixtures, or the liability for Poison Centre Notification would fall on the importer of the mixture into the EU.

These arrangements are what would apply under the existing rules, but it had been thought that companies in the UK would have been able to apply for UFIs and make notification using the Portal before the end of this year themselves, while we were still part of the EU (depending on when Brexit happens),

However, it would seem that if this extension to Annex VIII to CLP goes through, and Brexit occurs on 31st October, as looks increasingly likely, and we do not have some kind of agreement with the EU over chemical laws, which seems possible, then UK companies may not be able to use the Portal properly, and will need to make other arrangements for their mixtures exported into the EU.

Obviously this is a complex and fast-moving situation, and I will try to keep you informed as it unfolds.

GHS Classification Courses from TT Environmental Ltd

1st July 2019

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