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Today I decided to explain in a single post the meaning of the UFI, PCN and PCN file.

That’s because I have noticed that the aforementioned acronyms have been widely used recently. However, most users do not know what these acronyms actually mean. I hope this short post will help you.

Let's start with the Unique Formula Identifier or UFI in short. In Slovenia, this is translated as ‘enolični identifikator formule’ (Unique Formula Identifier).

This is a 16-character code that will be required on the label of every hazardous mixture (or, in case of industrial use it may be stated in the safety data sheet), placed on the market in the European Economic Area (EEA).

So, if a particular mixture is to be placed on the market in any EEA Member State, the UFI code – that is the aforementioned 16-character code – will have to be stated on the packaging.

Let's move to the PCN (Poison Centre Notification). In this case the acronym indicates the notification procedure by means of which a company forwards the information about a poisonous mixture to the European database of poison centres. So, this is a notification procedure by means of which in any individual EEA Member State a hazardous mixture that is placed on the market in that country is notified.

By means of this procedure the exact UFI code is linked to the exact chemical composition of a hazardous substance. Therefore, a mixture with a particular UFI has an exactly defined composition. 

Once the chemical is notified, its UFI may only be used for notification of a mixture of the same composition or with permitted minor discrepancy.

So, if you wish to register a mixture of a particular composition in another EEA Member State, the same UFI may be used. If the mixture's composition changes, the UFI code has to be changed too.

Finally, the PCN file. This is a file prepared in an application released by ECHA (European Chemicals Agency). At the end of PCN notification procedure, the file is submitted via the ECHA portal into the poison centres database. The submission is made through the ECHA portal for submitting such files.

For better understanding, let me explain the relation between the UFI, PCN and PCN file.

The PCN file for a product contains the UFI code and the exact chemical composition. Once the PCN file is submitted to the poison centres database, this UFI may only be used for products of the same composition or with permissible minor discrepancy, which I will explain in detail in my next post.

Perhaps you might have questions after reading this post? I would like to hear them, so feel free to write to me!


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 | October 14, 2019

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