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CHIP (or CHIPS): The (Chemicals Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations

Definition

CHIP- The Chemical (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations (now obsolete; see below) provided information on hazardous chemicals in Great Britain. These regulations were designed to comply with various European Union (EU) directives relating to the supply of dangerous chemicals.

Additional Info

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CHIP was amended on a regular basis since it was first adopted as the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations in 1994. Therefore, one may see references to CHIP 96, 98, 99 etc. in older literature. Each new version revoked the previous version. The last version of CHIP was issued in 2009, and was also known as CHIP4.

CHIP4 (2009) broke with previous versions by dropping (Material) Safety Data Sheets (SDS's) compliance which was then addressed through the European REACH regulation.

The remainder of the CHIP regulations were phased out by the European Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (known as the CLP Regulation, (EC) No 1272/2008) which is the EU's implementation of the Globally Harmonised System on the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). CLP regulations superseded CHIP on June 1, 2015 and all items in the EU have been required to be packaged and labelled in compliance with CLP efective June 1, 2017.

CHIP4 regulations required the supplier of a dangerous chemical to:

  1. Identify the hazards (dangers) of the chemical. This process is called "classification".
  2. Provide information about the hazards to their customers. This information is usually provided on the package/label.
  3. Package the material safely.

CHIP also defined classes of danger for "substances and preparations dangerous for supply" and used a letter coding system for these classes. You may encounter these symbols on outdated European MSDS's. In addition, labels and sheets in the EU carry required risk phrase and safety phrase codes. In our opinion, these coding systems are not only useless, but confusing - why write a crytic code such as "Xn" instead of simply stating "Harmful"? Regardless, here is a summary of the major classification codes that were used:

Note: Some of the letters/symbols used in these tables are also used as TSCA, HMIS and/or DoD HMIRS codes, all of which have completely different meanings and applications! See why we dislike code systems?

Physico-Chemical Properties1
Code Letter(s) &
Meaning
Danger Symbol Description
E
Explosive
Explosive Solid, liquid, pasty or gelatinous substances and preparations which may react exothermically without atmospheric oxygen thereby quickly evolving gases, and which under defined test conditions detonate, quickly deflagrate or upon heating explode when partially confined.
F+
Extremely Flammable
Flammable Liquid substances and preparations having an extremely low flash point and a low boiling point and gaseous substances and preparations which are flammable in contact with air at ambient temperature and pressure.
F
Highly Flammable
Flammable
  1. Substances and preparations which may become hot and finally catch fire in contact with air at ambient temperature without any application of energy,
  2. Solid substances and preparations which may readily catch fire after brief contact with a source of ignition and which continue to burn or to be consumed after removal of the source of ignition,
  3. Liquid substances and preparations having a very low flash point, or
  4. Substances and preparations which, in contact with water or damp air, evolve extremely flammable gases in dangerous quantities.1
(none)
Flammable
(no symbol) Liquid substances and preparations having a low flash point.
O
Oxidizing
Oxidizing Substances and preparations which give rise to a highly exothermic reaction in contact with other substances, particularly flammable substances.

Note: Some of the letters/symbols used in these tables are also used as TSCA, HMIS and/or DoD HMIRS codes, all of which have completely different meanings and applications! See why we dislike code systems?

Health Effects1
Note: Some symbols appear more than once in the following table. Please study the first column carefully.

Code Letter(s) &
Meaning
Danger Symbol Description
C
Corrosive
Corrosive Substances and preparations which may, on contact with living tissues, destroy them.
N
Dangerous For The Environment
Environment Substances and preparations which, were they to enter into the environment, would present or might present an immediate or delayed danger for one or more components of the environment.

Does not apply to preparations. In certain cases, some substances do not need to be labelled with the danger symbol for this category.

T+
Very toxic
Toxic Substances and preparations which in very low quantities cause death or acute or chronic damage to health when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed via the skin.
T
Toxic
Toxic Substances and preparations which in low quantities cause death or acute or chronic damage to health when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed via the skin.
Xi
Irritant
Irritant Non-corrosive substances and preparations which, through immediate, prolonged or repeated contact with the skin or mucous membrane, may cause inflammation.
Xn
Harmful
Harmful Substances and preparations which may cause death or acute or chronic damage to health when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed via the skin.
Sensitizing

Xn
Sensitizing by inhalation

Xi
Sensitizing by skin contact

Irritant
(i.e. Xn or Xi)
Substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or if they penetrate the skin, are capable of eliciting a reaction by hypersensitization such that on further exposure to the substance or preparation, characteristic adverse effects are produced.
Carcinogenic

T - Category 1 1
T - Category 2
Xn - Category 3

(depends on category) Substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the skin, may induce cancer or increase its incidence
Mutagenic

T - Category 1 1
T - Category 2
Xn - Category 3

(depends on category) Substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the skin, may induce inheritable genetic defects or increase their incidence.
Toxic for reproduction

T - Category 1 1
T - Category 2
Xn - Category 3

(depends on category) Substances and preparations which, if they are inhaled or ingested or if they penetrate the skin, may produce or increase the incidence of non-inheritable adverse effects in the progeny and/or of male or female reproductive functions or capacity.

1 See CHIP4 Schedule 1 for the formal classification/categorization system.

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SDS Relevance

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The now-obsolete CHIP4 (2009) regulations delegated Safety Data Sheet (SDS) compliance to the European REACH regulation. REACH regulations still require an SDS to be provided the first time the chemical is supplied or if the composition of the material changes so that new information has to be included.

It is extremely likely that if your current SDS is referencing CHIP regulations that it is obsolete. Check the date to see if it is most recent version and be sure the content is GHS-compliant.

The now obsolete CHIP3 (2002) specifically addressed safety data sheets in the following areas:

  1. The supplier of a hazardous substance must supply the recipient with a safety data sheet containing certain specific information (see link below for a full explanation)
  2. The supplier must keep the safety data sheet up to date and revise it when any significant new information becomes available regarding safety, health or the environment.
  3. Safety data sheets must be provided free of charge with shipments.
  4. If the sheet is revised, anyone who received the substance in the previous 12 months should be notified.
  5. Safety data sheets are not intended for consumer use as long as sufficient safety/use data is available with the product.
  6. Sheets must be in English. If used in an EU member state, the sheet may be in an official language of that state.

Further Reading

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See also: COSHH, HMIS, NFPA, REACH, TSCA, The MSDS FAQ entry on European SDS requirements.

Additional definitions from Google and OneLook.



Entry last updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018. This page is copyright 2000-2018 by ILPI. Unauthorized duplication or posting on other web sites is expressly prohibited. Send suggestions, comments, and new entry desires (include the URL if applicable) to us by email.

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