Changes to Poison Centre Notification rules

By Bill Atkinson, Chief Scientific Adviser

A great deal of UK legislation is changing with Brexit - not least the rules and responsibilities surrounding chemical storage, manufacture and export.


EU REACH legislation will cease to apply in the UK after 31 December 2020, and a lot of the regulations surrounding hazardous chemicals will be different, including your requirements to make Poison Centre Notifications for mixtures containing certain hazardous ingredients.


Make sure you understand the new rules, and are ready to adhere to them in January.

What’s changing with Poison Centre Notification?

From 1st January 2020, Poison Centre Notifications will have to be submitted in a new, harmonised format across the European Union, as required by Annex VIII of CLP (Classification Labelling and Packaging). However, as the UK will no longer be an EU member state at that point, if you’re a UK supplier, you don’t have to do this. The obligation to submit the notification rests with the importer into the European Union. So far, so simple.

However, you may find good reason to want to submit information voluntarily to the EU Poison Centres regarding your hazardous mixtures. Primarily, doing so could help protect confidential business information by supplying information yourselves and generating a unique formula identifier (UFI) you can then use the UFI rather than disclose your confidential business information to the EU importers.

How do I make a voluntary submission?

UK chemical manufacturers or suppliers can appoint a company inside the EU to make a voluntary Poison Centre Notification on their behalf. This EU company creates a Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) using their own VAT number and makes a voluntary notification to the Poison Centre Notification portal, giving full composition details. It’s important they do this in the Member State(s) where the final mixture is being placed on the market – so you need to have established with your EU importers where they intend to sell your mixture.

Once the notification has been made, you need to communicate the UFI to your EU importer (i.e the company buying your product). They then need to make their own mandatory Poison Centre Notification, using their own VAT number and creating a new UFI for them to quote when using or selling it on. They must state that the mixture is a 100% identical composition to your mixture. Your diligence in submitting a voluntary notification allows them to submit without you needing to disclose your formulation.

For more detailed information on all of this, consult Section 4.2.5 of the Poison Centre Notification guidance.

Will I need to submit anything to the UK Poison Centre instead?

If the EU rules don’t apply to UK suppliers any more, what procedures do apply? From talking to the UK’s National Poison Information Service (NPIS), it seems that the small print regarding submission of information to the UK’s own Poison Centre after Brexit is still being worked out. Keep your eyes on the NPIS website for further information as it is clarified.

What about Northern Ireland?

Due to Brexit’s Northern Ireland protocol, chemical substances put on the market there will need to have a full EU Poison Centre Notification submitted, in accordance with the new EU rules from 1st Jan. Make sure you’re not caught out by that.

Need any advice?

We have specialist teams of qualified chemists and regulatory affairs specialists who can advise in detail on the changes to Poison Centre Notification and ensure you’re fully compliant.