Bartosz Kuraś

A preparation is now a mixture

The Act on Chemical Substances and Mixtures (Dz.U. 2011 No. 63 item 322), adopted by the Polish Parliament in February, went into effect on 8 April 2011. There are numerous changes, but they are not revolutionary.

Art. 89 of the new act repeals the Act on Chemical Substances and Preparations dated 11 January 2011, which governed the same subject matter.

The new act was adopted in order to implement the EU’s Classification, Labelling & Packaging Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008) into Polish law. The EU regulations repealed by the CLP Regulation had been implemented into Polish law by a series of amendments to the Act on Chemical Substances and Preparations. Because the CLP Regulation introduced major changes in terminology (affecting the title of the act), it was decided to pass a new act rather than continue amending the old one.

The title of the new act is related to the change in terminology. The term “preparation” was replaced by the term “mixture,” although the meaning of the concept remains unchanged. The terminology used in some of the old definitions was also changed, and several new concepts were added. For example, the term “producer” was replaced by the term “manufacturer,” although in the criminal provisions the act still uses the former term.

In light of introduction of the term “mixture” in place of “preparation,” the name of the Polish authority charged with handling matters related to chemical substances and mixtures was changed from the Inspector for Chemical Substances and Preparations to the Inspector for Chemical Substances, and the name of the institution headed by the inspector was reduced from the Bureau for Chemical Substances and Preparations to the Bureau for Chemical Substances. The inspector’s authority was also expanded, pursuant to Art. 43 of the CLP Regulation, so that the inspector is now responsible for proposals for harmonised classification and labelling, enforcement of the obligations set out in the CLP Regulation, and cooperation with corresponding authorities of other member states.

Art. 15 of the new act indicates the entities responsible for notifying the Inspector for Chemical Substances concerning dangerous or hazardous mixtures. For the sake of clarity, it is stated that these entities may be natural or legal persons as well as organisational units without legal personality. In addition, the option of issuing a decision requiring an entity submitting a safety data sheet to supplement it was eliminated, because the correctness of the safety data sheet is subject to control in any event by the supervisory authorities identified in the act.

The scope of criminal provisions, which generally call for monetary sanctions, was also expanded. Art. 41 and 42 of the act introduce sanctions for failure to conduct a classification. Penalties were introduced for failure to comply with labelling requirements for non-hazardous mixtures. Penalties will be imposed on suppliers of substances or mixtures who place them on the market without relevant labelling or fail to update the information on the label. An additional sanction was introduced for advertising hazardous substances without indicating the hazard class and category. Sanctions will also be imposed for conducting animal testing for classification purposes in violation of the rules set forth in the CLP Regulation. All of these offences are classified as misdemeanours.

Bartosz Kuraś, Environmental Law practice, Wardyński & Partners