Friday, February 10, 2012

ECHA Study: New CLP Pictograms Unfathomable to Public

Most readers will know that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) submitted a key report to the European Commission on January 20th, 2012. The report analyses efforts thus far to communicate hazards to the public via labeling and packaging.

The report can be distilled to one simple finding: The general public has no idea what the new CLP label pictograms mean.

Apparently two separate surveys found that the public doesn't understand the pictograms on the new CLP labels one iota. So here's a quiz. How many of these pictograms do *you* quickly grasp from these warning images?


Danger:
rolling pin


Alert:
Native American

ceremonial wheel


Heads up:
Prime-time TV police drama
marketing swag


Answers to pictogram quiz
There aren't many calls for humor in our line of work, so this was fun. Here are the real answers:
  1. Rolling pin = gas under pressure (!)
  2. Native American ceremonial wheel = oxodizing substance or mixture (!)
  3. Police marketing swag = health hazard (well, ok, that one seems reasonable after the first two)
Thus...
Industry should be encouraged, says the report, to bring product appearance and packaging more in line with the hazard information on labels, making use of behavioral drivers to amplify the label's message -- thereby promoting the associated safety behavior in consumers. Basically, industry is encouraged to keep explaining the labels.

Changes to the CLP labels themselves are not recommended. Authorities believe it's more beneficial to allow the public to get used to the new system – now in use globally – steadily improving the public's overall understanding of the hazards posed by chemicals and encouraging a safer use of household chemicals in particular.

According to Article 34 of the CLP Regulation, the European Commission will follow up by submitting a related report to the European Parliament and the European Council in order to, if justified, present a legislative proposal to amend the Regulation.

More information
Report Title: Communication on the safe use of chemicals Report. Subtitle: Study on the Communication of Information to the General Public.

Study on Communication on the safe use of chemicals to the General Public, submitted to the European Commission on 20 January 2012:
http://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/17203/clp_study_en.pdf

Risk Communication Network (RCN):
http://echa.europa.eu/en/web/guest/about-us/partners-and-networks/risk-communication-network

Article 34 of the CLP Regulation:
http://echa.europa.eu/web/guest/regulations/clp/legislation

CLP Deadlines & Fees:
http://www.environmentalleader.com/2010/12/30/europes-clp-regulation-overview-deadlines-and-fees/

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