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Swiss Chemical Law

Switzerland, close to the EU but not in the EU

The EU’s REACH Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006, which came into force on June 1, 2007, brings about far-reaching changes in European chemicals law and marked differences from Swiss chemicals law. Switzerland must reduce these differences, at least as far as it is necessary for the free movement of goods.

The Swiss chemicals law has been harmonized with the then European Union regulations by the “Federal Act of December 15, 2000 on protection against dangerous substances and preparations” (Chemicals Act ChemG, SR 813.1). It entered into force on August 1, 2005. With the entry into force of the REACH regulation in the EEA, the harmonization with the EU legislation that was sought at the time became obsolete after less than 2 years. For this reason and also because of the continued dynamic development of European chemicals law, Swiss chemicals law is currently changing unusually quickly.

The current adjustments to EU chemicals legislation are briefly summarized:

No barriers to trade in Switzerland for EEA products
The legal prerequisites have been created so that chemical products from the EEA or from third countries that comply with the REACH regulation and the CLP regulation can be marketed in Switzerland without trade barriers, e.g. the labels, packaging and safety data sheets permitted in the EEA (these with an additional sheet) may also be used in Switzerland. Since December 1, 2010, this has also been valid for distribution to private users, but in this case the name and address of the Swiss distributor must be stated on the label.

Products made in Switzerland for the EEA
Products manufactured in Switzerland for the EEA which meet the EU regulations can also be marketed in Switzerland with the same (but bilingual) labeling and the same safety data sheets (with the additional sheet mentioned). Since 1 December 2010, this has also been valid for distribution to private users, however, the name and address of the Swiss manufacturer or importer must be stated on the label.

Products intended for Switzerland
Manufacturers of chemical substances and preparations for the Swiss market have had to apply many provisions of the REACH regulation and almost all provisions of the CLP regulation to their products since July 1, 2015, as was the case in the fully revised Swiss company that entered into force on July 1, 2015 Chemical Ordinance is set (see page Chemical Ordinance).

The application of the Cassis de Dijon principle also in Switzerland
The Cassis de Dijon principle (CdD principle) has been applicable in Switzerland since 2010. The implementing provisions can be found in the VIPaV regulation. With regard to the chemicals trade, this means that chemicals, cosmetics, etc., which meet the requirements for placing them on the market in an EEA country and are marketed there, may, under certain conditions, also be marketed in Switzerland in unchanged form. For example, monolingual German-labeled products (only) can be sold in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and monolingual French-labeled products (only) in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. However, for dangerous chemical products that are available to the general public, a responsible Swiss manufacturer must be indicated on the label.
The supplied safety data sheet must also contain the information specific to Switzerland in sections 1, 7, 8, 13 and 15. This additional information can be summarized in a cover sheet, which is attached to the safety data sheet of the supplier or preceded by its file (e.g. with pdfsam basic).
So that domestic manufacturers are not discriminated against, they may also make use of these regulations.

However, there are exceptions to the CdD principle: For example, the CdD principle does not apply to substances that are subject to authorization and to preparations that contain such a substance. The same applies to substances subject to notification and to a selection of chemicals for which there is a special regulation in the Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance. These exceptions are listed in the SECO negative list for the Cassis de Dijon principle. The homepage of the Federal Office of Public Health and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO contains more detailed information on the Cassis de Dijon principle.

No mixing: It should be noted that the placing on the market must be strictly separated according to the CdD principle and the chemicals regulation. Products based on the CdD principle must only meet the requirements of the EEA country concerned (exceptions: safety data sheet, as well as the Swiss address on the label for products for private users).
If the Cassis de Dijon principle is dispensed with, the products are to be designed exclusively and completely in accordance with Swiss requirements.

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