Aerosols have an important place on the shop shelves. These include spray cans for food products (e.g. whipped cream), cosmetic products (e.g. deodorants), technical products (e.g. lubricants), festive products (e.g. snow, hair colour), etc.
The use of aerosols can be dangerous: they are pressurised containers and they can burst if heated. Since 12 February 2018, 15 bars has been the maximum pressure permitted for aerosols containing non-flammable propellants.
Many containers contain flammable substances. Misusing these aerosols (including use for which the product was not designed) carries serious risks and could cause a fire, injuries or even death.
Regulations concerning the safety of aerosols
An aerosol is any non-reusable container made of metal, glass or plastic fitted with a release device. It contains compressed, liquefied or dissolved gas under pressure, with or without a liquid, paste or powder. The release device allows the contents to be ejected as solid or liquid particles in suspension in gas, or in the form of foam, paste or powder, or in a liquid state.
Aerosols must meet safety requirements in order to be placed on the market. These requirements are described in the following regulations:
- The Code of Economic Law, Book IX on the safety of products and services contains the general safety requirements;
- The Royal Decree of 31 July 2009 on aerosols contains the specific technical requirements. This Decree (amended on 26 November 2013 and on 6 September 2017) is the transposition into Belgian law of the European Directive 75/324/EEC, amended by Directives 2008/47/EU, 2013/10/EU and (EU)2016/2037 to account for technical progress and the classification system for chemical substances.
Obligations for manufacturers
The specific regulatory provisions apply to aerosols whose container has a capacity of higher than 50 ml and lower than or equal to:
- 1,000 ml for metal containers;
- 220 ml for plasticised or permanently protective glass containers, or plastic containers that cannot cause splinters if they burst;
- 150 ml for unprotected glass containers, or plastic containers that could cause splinters if they burst;
In order to market an aerosol, the manufacturer must:
- carry out a risk analysis to determine the risks that their product presents (including the risk of ignition and pressure, and the risks of inhaling the product under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use);
- design, manufacture and test the aerosol, taking the results of this analysis into account;
- draw up the specific and necessary declarations for its use;
- label their product in a clearly visible, legible and indelible manner.
Labelling of aerosols and danger symbols
The manufacturer must include at least the following indications on aerosols:
- the name and address or the trademark of the trader responsible for placing it on the market;
- the conformity symbol, the character “З” (reverse epsilon);
- the production batch identification;
- the nominal volume of the contents in the liquid state and an indication of the nominal total capacity of the container;
- the notice "Contains X percent flammable ingredients by mass" where an aerosol contains flammable ingredients, but is not itself considered to be "flammable" or "highly flammable";
- the usage warnings for the user with an indication of the specific dangers of the product, as shown the following table.
Types of aerosols
|"Container under pressure: may burst if heated."
"Keep away from heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flame and other sources of ignition – do not smoke."
"Do not perforate or burn, even after use.”
"Keep away from sunlight."
"Do not expose to temperatures above 50°C."
|Aerosols as a consumer product||"Keep out of reach of children."|
|In line with how flammable the aerosol is(*)|
(*) Aerosols are classified according to how flammable they are in line with the criteria in Regulation (EC) 1272/2008, called CLP (Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures) and labelled with the relevant notices and warnings.
Since 1 June 2017, all aerosols that are marketed (containing unique substances or mixtures) must be labelled in line with the CLP. Only the pictograms in a white diamond with a red border may be included on the containers. This means products marked with the former symbols in orange and black can no longer be sold!
For any information on the CLP Regulation, you can contact the competent Belgian authority, this being the Federal Public Service for Health.
The useful terminology from the CLP for bringing a product to market in Belgium can be found in a trilingual table (PDF, 23.29KB).