Despite the warnings on labels, incidents involving chemical products still occur both at home and in the workplace. The Belgian Poison Centre is available by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the free number 070 245 245, to advise what to do in case of acute poisoning. Around half of the calls they receive relate to exposure to medicines, a quarter to chemical products, 6% to cosmetics, 5% to phytosanitary and biocidal products and 6% to plants, animals and food. With 44% of the calls relating to exposure of children, keeping those products out of reach of children remains best practice.
It is obviously essential that the correct information on the product is passed quickly from the chemicals sector to the Belgian Poison Centre. In 2018, 7320 new or updated compositions of hazardous mixtures were notified. essenscia works closely together with the Belgian Poison Center to implement the new EU-harmonised notification system.
When a company brings a new chemical product onto the Belgian market, the Belgian Poison Centre has to be notified of any hazardous characteristics and a fee has to be payed. The legal obligation applies to mixtures with hazardous physical and health effects, pesticides and biocides. essenscia additionally calls on its members to continue notifying voluntarily all mixtures which are hazardous for the environment and non-classified mixtures containing hazardous substances intended for consumers.
essenscia also funds and cooperates with the Poison Centre on information campaigns on safe use of household and DIY chemicals.