EU Member States have approved a regulation that will align EU legislation on classification and the labelling of substances and mixtures with the United Nations Globally Harmonised System. The new regulation will replace existing rules in this area, namely Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC and is intended to promote consistent labels and descriptions, particularly in reference to hazards, of chemicals worldwide. It is also expected to complement the REACH regulation on the registration, evaluation authorisation and restriction of chemicals.

Regulators hope that the use of internationally agreed classification criteria and labelling will facilitate trade and contribute to global efforts towards human and environmental health and safety. After the new regulation enters into force, according to the new rules the deadline for substances classification will be 1 December 2010 and for mixtures 1 June 2015.