Poison centres: changes to placing hazardous mixtures on the market



If you or someone you know has ever been accidentally exposed to a chemical product, you can pick up the phone and call a poison centre to ask for medical advice. The first question they may ask you is: what exactly is in the product? We look at why answering this question might become a lot easier in the future.

Poison centres help to ensure the safe use of chemicals and offer preventive and remedial measures if somebody has been exposed to a poisoning agent. They give medical advice to general consumers and physicians on health emergencies arising from exposure to hazardous chemicals or to other toxic agents. They also provide an assessment of whether a particular exposure is hazardous, and give information on whether treatment is needed, and if so, what kind.

A new character code for product labelsWhile you may know the brand name of the product, it is not always straightforward for poison centres to give you the best possible medical advice based on this information alone, as the product labels currently only provide limited information. To improve this situation, a new 16-digit character code known as a unique formula identifier (UFI) will be required on the labels of products containing hazardous mixtures from 1 January 2020.

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