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Confidential Business Information (CBI)

Many companies struggle to protect the identities of their chemicals whilst also meeting the requirements of global regulations.

The UN Globally Harmonised System (GHS) has given each region the capability to make their own provisions to protect propriety information in SDS or on product labels. Generally, CBI claims are allowed as long as such claims do not compromise the health and the safety of users of the chemical, or the protection of the environment. There are many different methods to do this ranging from, submitting information to a local competent authority, to simply claiming CBI and only having to disclose information in an emergency situation. Although requirements under GHS are generally well defined, where GHS is not in place it can be difficult to determine how best to proceed whilst trying to keep information important to your process confidential.

Within the EU, suppliers who would like to withhold the full composition of their mixture on labels and SDS may do so, but only through the process of requesting an alternative chemical name for the component they wish to keep confidential. All requests have to be submitted to ECHA and will only be approved in the following cases;

  • When the substance does not have a Community workplace exposure limit.
  • The use of the alternative name meets the need to provide enough information to take necessary health and safety precautions at the workplace and that the risks from handling the mixture can be controlled.
  • The substance is classified only in certain hazard classes (see 1.4.1 (III), Annex I, CLP Regulation).

Any request for the use of an alternative chemical name has an associated fee payable to ECHA. Costs vary depending on company size and number of mixtures in a request, however once approved, the alternative chemical names approved by ECHA will be valid in all EU member states

EU requirements are in stark contrast to other regions, such as China where suppliers are allowed to claim CBI without prior approval from the authorities. The substance name and CAS number can be hidden within the SDS and label as long as the requirements of GB/T 17519-2013 ‘Guidance on the compilation of safety data sheet for chemical products’ and GB 13690-2009 ‘General rule for classification and hazard communication of chemicals’ have been met.

Here at Yordas Group we have helped a our customers understand global confidential requirements. From the EU to Argentina our team of regulatory experts can help you identify what information you are required to pass down the supply chain with the goal of keeping your intellectual property confidential.