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Since the date of enforcement of the PCN and UFI system is approaching, and the ECHA as well as other chemicals offices have not provided extensive information yet, clients frequently ask us how to most appropriately prepare for the system. Today's post will answer the most frequently asked question about this topic.

Q: The supplier of mixtures that I sell in the market for consumers or general use has informed me about the UFI codes on the labels of supplied products. What should I do?

A: First, check the date. Legal obligations with regard to UFI codes and PCN procedures shall enter into force on 1 January 2020. The products placed on the market before 1 January 2020 (or which will change owners before 1 January 2020) can be placed on the market without worries until 1 January 2025. However, they must be notified according to the national procedure. The obligations with regard to the UFI code and the PCN procedure only refer to products that will be placed on the market after 1 January 2020 and are not notified according to the national procedure OR if their formulation is changed after 1 January 2020.

Your obligations with regard to the UFI code and PCN procedure depend on your place in the supply chain. Let's take a look at some examples:

  1. If you distribute a hazardous mixture – you get the product from your supplier or place it on the market without additional changes – you have no obligations.

Note: this doesn't mean that it’s not sensible to prepare for UFI.

Due to the aforementioned dates it is important that your supplier provides all the information about the changes of composition of your products in time.

If you will place the product on the market after 1 January 2020 or if the product's composition changes after that date, you should check through the supply chain whether the manufacturer of the mixture has made the PCN notification for this product for all countries where you place the mixture on the market.

PCN notification is a legal obligation of the hazardous mixtures' formulator and not your obligation, but inspection officers can, if the notification has not been carried out, withdraw the products from the market. Therefore ask your suppliers if the PCN notification has been made for all countries where you place the mixture on the market.

If not or if you have trouble communicating with your suppliers you can, in worst case scenario, carry out the PCN notification yourself, where you must refer to the UFI number that was given to the product by the formulator. However, in such case you are responsible for the accuracy of information in the notification.

If you have received UFI codes from your supplier, leave them on the label, because they will be a mandatory label element.

  • If, besides distributing hazardous mixtures, you also rename or repack your products, you have two choices.

First, notify the hazardous mixture formulator about the name change and ask them to add your trade names, packaging and countries where the products are placed on the market in their PCN notifications for the products. Leave the manufacturer's UFI code on the product.

Second, if you don't want to do this, then you have to perform your own PCN notification. You can refer to the UFI code of the formulator, but in this case you are responsible for the accuracy of data in the notification. You also need to pay attention to the changes in the UFI code on supplied products, because the changes mean that the product formulation has changed – and that you need to create a new PCN notification. The UFI code – the same code used to make the PCN notification, must be on every product.

  • If you are using the mixtures to formulate your own products, then you are considered as the formulator and you are obligated to carry out PCN notifications for your products in all EU Member States where your products are placed on the market – so, communicate with your buyers about where and how they are selling your products.

As you can see, you will need to work and communicate with suppliers to satisfy the legal requirements that are brought by the enforcement of the new data provision regime for hazardous chemicals. It is still unclear how the submission of PCN files will be carried out, so we suggest that you regularly follow our posts that will be posted in our blog with regard to this topic.

Information on this blog is prepared with utmost care, but it is not about (chemical) consulting, and the provider does not assume any responsibility or liability for the correctness, accuracy and up-to-dateness of published content. If you need advice for a specific case, you can write to us at
UFI / PCN | April 18, 2019

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