Chemicals Act (Switzerland)

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Basic data
Title: Federal law on protection against
dangerous substances and preparations
Short title: Chemicals Act
Abbreviation: ChemG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Switzerland
Legal matter: Environmental law
legal collection (SR)
Original version from: December 15, 2000
Entry into force on: January 1, 2005
Last change by: June 13, 2006
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Chemicals Act is a law to protect against dangerous substances ( hazardous substances ) in Switzerland. It brings together the aspects of health protection and environmental protection at ordinance level and thus brings it into line with the legislation of other industrialized countries.

The ChemG also applies in Liechtenstein .


The purpose of the Chemicals Act is to protect human life and health from the harmful effects of substances and preparations. It regulates the handling of substances and preparations. These are considered dangerous if they can endanger life or health through physico-chemical or toxic effects. If microorganisms in biocidal products or pesticides are used, the use of the substances and preparations on an equal footing.

The principles defined are the duty of self-control , the duty to inform customers and the duty of care . The registrations and authorizations of certain substances and preparations in general and special provisions are regulated in detail.

Comparison with EU law

Since August 1, 2005, Swiss chemicals law has been largely harmonized with the EU chemicals law ( REACH ) currently in force . At the legal level, Swiss law deviates from the REACH regulation in a number of key points:

  • Different requirements for new and old fabrics
  • Point of contact for placing on the market , only exported substances are not affected
  • Less strict regulations on substances in objects than under REACH
  • No reversal of the burden of proof as with REACH: Responsibility for the risk assessment and the official classification of substances lies mainly with the authorities (not with the manufacturers and importers)
  • The downstream users are not obliged to inform the manufacturer about the purpose and type of use of the substances and preparations


Until July 31, 2005, chemicals and preparations were divided into poison classes according to the Swiss Poison Act of 1969 and collected in the poison list . All substances and products that were subject to the scope of the Poison Act had to be registered with the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) before being placed on the market and classified in a poison class by official order. The notifying company had to classify commercial products themselves according to the guidelines of the BAG and also register them before they were launched. A special feature was that the notifying company had to be a Swiss company. As a result, substances and products were registered via Swiss branches or service companies. The classification was based on the LD 50 value . The packaging of poisons had to wear the poison tape (black with skull symbol / yellow / red). The poison tape contained information about the type of poison, hazard warnings, poison class and the BAG T number.

Poison class LD 50 (mg / kg) comment example
1* - carcinogenic, teratogenic, or mutagenic; no sale to private individuals benzene
1 <5 no sale to private individuals Potassium cyanide
2 5-50 Purchase only against confirmation of receipt hydrochloric acid
3 50-500 Purchase only against confirmation of receipt Copper sulfate
4th 500-2000 Sales only by qualified personnel Paraformaldehyde
5 2000-5000 Sales only by qualified personnel Ethyl acetate
5S 3000-5000 Admission for self-service Denatured alcohol

The color scheme is based on the respective poison ribbons.

Example of a poison tape from an oven cleaner spray:

Do not inhale aerosol. Irritating to eyes
Poison class 5, BAG-T-Nr. 23557

With the exception of chemicals for research and those that were used as auxiliaries, starting materials or intermediate products exclusively in chemical production processes, only the poisons listed in the poison list of the FOPH were permitted. A general license was required for traffic with all poisons in poison classes 1 to 4. The purchase of chemicals of poison classes 1 and 2 was only possible with a special purchase permit. For products with poison class 3, an acknowledgment of receipt had to be signed stating personal details and private individuals needed a poison certificate to purchase class 2 poisons. There were three poison lists:

  • List of toxic substances (poison list 1)
  • Directory of toxic public products (poison list 2)
  • Directory of toxic industrial products (poison list 3)

As of August 1, 2005, the poison classes have been replaced by the hazard pictograms customary in the EU . The transitional provisions expired on July 31, 2007. By December 2013, the classification and labeling of substances was made mandatory for GHS . In the case of mixtures, the GHS obligation has been in effect since June 2015.

Footnotes and Sources

  1. Consumer forum : From the Poison Act to the Chemicals Act - From poison classes to poison labels (PDF; 104 kB) , March 2005
  2. Announcement of April 29, 2014 of the Swiss legal provisions applicable in the Principality of Liechtenstein on the basis of the customs treaty (Annexes I and II)
  3. Federal Office for the Environment : Material differences between Swiss law and REACH (PDF; 105 kB) , November 1, 2007
  4. The classification can be called up online: IGS poison list (database with approx. 176,000 substances and products)
  5. Poison Ordinance of September 19, 1983 (GV, SR 813.1) - (last) version of January 1, 2004 , Article 3.
  6. Questions and Answers on GHS ( Memento from February 21, 2014 in the Internet Archive )

Web links