CLP Regulation: Identification of chemical products

Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging

The aim of the CLP Regulation (Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging) is to ensure a high level of protection against injury and pollution for chemical products and to facilitate free movement of goods within the European Union.

To this end, a new system for classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures was introduced across Europe in 2009 when this Regulation came into effect. After lengthy transitional arrangements, the CLP replaced the previously valid classification and labelling system on 1st June 2015. For the consumers, this means that they must get used to new safety and warning information - however these apply throughout the EU. PU foam can s are also affected by this Regulation. Whilst in the past the diagonal cross and flame symbol on the cans indicated that, if used, certain precautions need to be taken, now a new diamond-shaped pictogram is used.

The meanings of the new pictograms:

Diamond with fire:

This pictogram indicates that there is highly inflammable compressed air (aerosol) in the PU foam cans and that they may burst when expose to heat or open flames. Therefore, smoking is prohibited during use, and the can may not be heated by an external heat source. Even extreme sunlight and ambient temperatures in excess of 50°C must be avoided due to the risk of explosion. Also, the can may never be opened with force.

Diamond with exclamation mark, diamond with a person and 'Radiation chest':

The exclamation mark replaces the previously used diagonal cross to indicate health risks. A new addition is the symbol for serious health risks. In the case of PU foam, this information refers to the liquid contents in the can. When hardened, PU foam is physiologically safe. However, before it has hardened, it might irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory organs. Sensitive persons may suffer allergic reactions on the skin and in the respiratory organs or even asthma-like symptoms and breathing problems.

To protect against this, personal protective equipment should be worn when working with PU (gloves, goggles and skin-covering clothing), and good ventilation should be ensured. Also, the active ingredients are probably carcinogenic, if inhaled in large concentrations over a longer period. However, there are no known cases of this. Good ventilation protects you here, too.

MDI-reduced and MHI-free PU foams, that contain less than 1 percent MDI or no free isocynate groups are not subject to these labelling requirements.

These explanations are kept general; they are not binding within the meaning of the CLP Regulation that specifies certain formulations.

For binding information about processing, handling and occupational safety, please refer to the product and safety data sheets for the respective PU foam issued by the manufacturer and the labels on the PU foam cans.

For more information about the CLP Regulation, please refer to:


Federal Environment Office

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment