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2022-06-03
ProductIP
Intermediate

Unique Formula Identifier (UFI)

Disclaimer: This document provides guidance and is not a legally binding interpretation and shall therefore not be relied upon as legal advice.

Clarity for anyone selling and using chemicals

The European Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 defines the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) of chemicals. 
CLP Article 45 obliges importers to provide information to the Poison Centers. Poison Centers need this information to advise on measures in case of emergencies when people have been exposed to chemicals. 
CLP Annex VIII structures information in the so-called Poison Centre Notification (PCN) format, this includes product identification, hazard identification, composition (formula) information, toxicological information and more.

The chemical shall be identified immediately in case of an emergency

About half of the calls to Poison Centers are problematic because there is a lack of clarity about the identity of the chemical product. The Unique Formal Identifier (UFI) will solve this. The UFI is a 16-character code that is linked to the composition (the formula) of a chemical product. The UFI is used by consumers or doctors in their calls with Poison Centers for an emergency health response.

Unique Formula Identifier (UFI)

The UFI code is generated from a number specific for the formula of the chemical mixture and the company’s VAT number (though it is possible without VAT#). Entering this into the ECHA UFI Generator is all you need to do. 

The UFI code shall be preceded ‘UFI:’, it shall be clearly visible, legible and indelibly and added to the supplemental (chemical) information on the product’s label.

Obviously, the UFI placement on the label should happen together with the submission of all information as required by Annex VIII. The UFI is only meaningful after information is made available to the Poison Centers.

Above: a sample product label with UFI code (from the ECHA guide).

Deadlines

The Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) was added to the CLP Regulation already in March 2017, but  the industry was granted with a preparation period of several years.

  • The deadline for chemicals for consumer and commercial use expired on 1 January 2021; 
  • Chemicals for industrial use need to comply with the requirements from 1 January 2024.

The transition period for chemicals that were already on the market and notified to national poison centres ends on 1  January 2025. After that date all classified chemicals - old and new - must carry the UFI code.

More details about Poison Centers and the UFI code are available on this ECHA website.

ECHA also provides detailed guidance about the CLP Regulation including Annex VIII.


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