Labelling and hazard symbols

Content:

Hazardous chemical products must be labelled with hazard symbols and text that informs about the hazards associated with using the product. Before you purchase a chemical product and bring it into your home, it is a good idea to look for the warning label and read the information on the product’s packaging. Here, you can read about different properties that hazardous chemical products can have and see which warning labels the products must be marked with.

Look at the label

Hazardous chemical products must be marked with hazard symbols framed with red hazard pictograms against a white background.

But there is also another kind of labelling that can be found on older products that were sold several years ago. This type of warning label is square against an orange background and may no longer be used on new products.

Products that are irritating or corrosive

Farosymbol som visar ett kors enligt det äldre, svenska systemet för när något är irriterande för huden.
Farosymbol enligt det äldre, svenska systemet för när något är frätande.
Farosymbol enligt det globala varningsystemet GHS för när något är irriterande för huden.
Farosymbol enligt det globala varningsystemet GHS för när något är frätande för huden.

A product with any of these hazard symbols may be corrosive, irritating or harmful to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Some can cause severe allergic reactions. If the product is corrosive, it can cause serious injury even in the event of short-term contact, for example if it splashes into the eyes. Products containing corrosive substances such as ammonia, caustic soda (aka lye or sodium hydroxide), certain acids such as vinegar/acetic acid (24%) can be particularly dangerous even in small amounts.

Examples of products that may be labelled with these hazard symbols are all-purpose cleaners, dishwasher detergents, drain cleaners, descaling agents or oven cleaners.

Products that are hazardous to health

Farosymbol som visar ett kors enligt det äldre, svenska systemet för när något är irriterande för huden.
Farosymbol enligt det globala varningsystemet GHS för när något är irriterande för huden.
Farosymbol enligt det globala varningsystemet GHS för när något är farligt för hälsan.

In addition to the injuries mentioned above, some products can result in serious harm to your health if you accidentally ingest the substance orally or through inhalation. Examples of such substances are ethylene glycol (antifreeze/coolant), lighter fluids, lamp oils and parrafin oil/kerosene. In addition to the hazard labelling, lamp oils and charcoal lighter fluids must be packed in black, opaque bottles that hold a maximum of 1 litre and have a child-resistant closure. The purpose is to minimise the risk of small children ingesting the product.

Products that are toxic or can cause serious or long-term damage to health

Farosymbol enligt det äldre, svenska systemet för när något är giftigt eller allvarligt kan skada din hälsa.
Farosymbol enligt det globala systemet, GHS, för när något är giftigt eller allvarligt kan skada din hälsa.
Farosymbol enligt det globala varningsystemet, GHS, för när något är farligt för hälsan.

These hazard symbols appear on products that can present serious health risks. For example, they may contain substances that are highly toxic, can cause cancer, affect the ability to have children, harm the unborn child or damage genetic material (DNA). Chemicals with such properties are generally not allowed to be sold to the general public.

Products that are hazardous to the environment

Farosymbol enligt det äldre, svenska systemet för när något är skadligt för miljön.
Farosymbol enligt det globala systemet, GHS, för när något är skadligt för miljön.

Some chemicals can harm the environment, such as certain paints. If environmental toxins are released into watercourses or forests and land, they can harm both animals and plants. We humans also risk getting the substances in our bodies indirectly through the food we eat or the water we drink.

Think about the environment when you dispose of any leftover product/residues. Bring leftover chemicals to an Recycling centre. Do not pour leftover chemicals into the drain.

Products that are flammable or explosive

Farosymbol enligt det äldre, svenska systemet för när något är brandfarligt.
Farosymbol enligt det äldre, svenska systemet för när något är explosivt.
Farosymbol enligt det globala systemet, GHS, för när något är brandfarligt.
Farosymbol enligt det globala systemet, GHS, för när något är oxiderande.
Farosymbol enligt det globala systemet, GHS, för när något är explosivt.
Farosymbol enligt det globala systemet, GHS, för att visa att produkten är gas under tryck och kan explodera vid yttre brand.

Many products are hazardous due to their physical properties, such as products that are flammable, explosive or oxidising. Every year, children and adults suffer burn injuries and property is destroyed due to fires started by improper or inappropriate handling of flammable liquids or explosive products. Examples of flammable liquids are fuels such as petrol, diesel and lamp oils or solvents such as acetone or turpentine and white spirit. Fireworks, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottles/cylinders or spray cans are examples of products that can explode if exposed to heat.

Store flammable and explosive products safely. Read more about the proper handling and storage of flammable and explosive products at The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB)external link.

Tactile warnings of danger and child-resistant closures

In addition to the visible hazard symbol, certain products must have tactile warnings of danger and child-resistant closures.

Taktil varningsmärkning, fylld triangel, för personer med synnedsättning.
Taktil varningsmärkning, konturer, för personer med synnedsättning.
Taktil varningsmärkning, punkter, för personer med synnedsättning.
Barnskyddande förslutning för att hindra barn från att kunna öppna samt få i sig kemiska produkter.

Example of tactile warnings of danger and a child-resistant closure as a stopper that is difficult for a small child to open.

Other labelling

CE marking

Certain products, such as toys and electrical or electronic equipment for home use, must be CE marked. The CE mark means that the article meets European safety requirements and helps you choose safe products. Upon inspection, however, it has been shown that this is not always true. It is the companies themselves who label the products, and they are not regularly inspected by an outside party.

Marks that look similar to the CE mark may not be used, and products for which there is no requirement for a CE mark may not have one.

You can read more here and see what the CE mark looks likeexternal link.

More information on CE marking can be found on the European Union’s website - Your Europeexternal link.

Voluntary labels

There are many other labelling symbols, such as environmental, energy, fair trade, organic production and recycling symbols that can help you as an individual make informed choices.

Read more about labelling and various symbols in the Märkningsguiden (Labelling Guide - in Swedish only) at Hallå konsumentexternal link

Read more

Digital teaching materials about chemicals for school students

Advice on chemical products

Companies have a responsibility

Last published 14 September 2020