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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Jiménez

Switzerland Align its Chemicals Ordinance with the European Union Regulation

On May 27, 2024, Switzerland communicated to the World Trade Organization (WTO) its plan to amend Annexes 2 and 3 of its Chemicals Ordinance (ChemO). These amendments are aimed at improving environmental protection and human health, as well as reducing trade barriers and facilitating trade. The new regulations are expected to be adopted on August 2, 2024 and enter into force on September 1, 2024.




Regulatory Context in Switzerland


Switzerland aligns its chemical regulations with the EU to ensure access to the single market.


Switzerland bases its chemical regulatory system on the Federal Chemicals Act and the Ordinance on Protection against Dangerous Substances and Preparations. To ensure access to the EU single market, Switzerland has adopted regulations similar to the EU REACH and CLP Regulations, including regulations on classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals, as well as a system to identify and control substances of very high concern (SVHC).


Modifications to the Chemical Ordinance


28 new substances or groups of substances are added to the List of Harmonized Classification and Labeling of Hazardous Substances. Additionally, 24 existing entries are updated to align with the 21st Adaptation to Technical Progress (ATP) of the EU CLP Regulation.


Details of the modifications

New Substances

Update of Test Methods

The latest advances in test methods from the OECD and the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria are included.

Changes in Annex 2

New Hazard Categories

EU hazard classes for endocrine disruptors, persistent chemicals, and bioaccumulative chemicals are incorporated, with phased application first to substances and then to mixtures.




Changes in Annex 3

New Entries

7 new substances are added to Annex 3 of the ChemO (List of Candidate Substances) and one existing entry is updated.


Switzerlands New Regulation: Impact


New regulations boost Swiss environmental protection and trade with the EU.


These amendments will enable Switzerland to improve environmental and public health protection, as well as facilitate trade with the EU by minimizing regulatory differences. Companies will need to adapt to the new regulations to maintain access to the European market and avoid possible sanctions.



Conclusion


The update of the Swiss Chemicals Ordinance to align it with EU regulations represents a key step in harmonizing chemical safety standards and promoting international trade. The amendments that will come into force in September 2024 reflect Switzerland's commitment to environmental protection and human health, and to staying aligned with advanced European regulations.


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