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Supreme Court of Denmark

Interpretation of the Dangerous Preparations Directive and hazard labelling of textile detergents 

Case no. 536/2006
Judgment 28. April 2009
 

The Association of Danish Cosmetics, Toiletries, Soap and Detergent Industries acting for Unilever Danmark A/S and Procter & Gamble Danmark ApS

vs.

Danish Environmental Protection Agency

Interpretation of the Dangerous Preparations Directive and hazard labelling of textile detergents

On 27 February 2007, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency ordered Unilever Danmark A/S and Procted & Gamble Danmark ApS to classify some textile detergents as hazardous because they cause local irritation.
Then, the Association of Danish Cosmetics, Toiletries, Soap and Detergent Industries, acting for the companies, sued the Danish Environmental Protection Agency claiming that the orders were void. The Association was of the opinion that Article 6(3), first indent, of the Dangerous Preparations Directive provided the authorisation to downgrade a preparation if case studies and statistically backed experience demonstrated that the toxicological effects on man were less severe than those suggested by the application of the methods outlined in Article 6(1)(a). Consequently, the detergents should be downgraded based on the Association's documentation, as the risk posed by the detergents was very slight. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency moved for rejection of the claim.
The Supreme Court found that Article 6(3), first indent, of the Dangerous Preparations Directive should be interpreted as giving the options of both upgrading and downgrading a preparation relative to the classification resulting from the method described in Article 6(1)(a). The scientific studies upon which the Association relied or the expert statements and the statistical material from accident records etc. submitted by the Association in the case did not sufficiently demonstrate that the toxicological effects of the detergents on man differ from those suggested by the application of the above method. In addition, the Association had failed to prove that the application of the method due to an antagonism in the detergents led to the toxicological hazard being overestimated to such an extent that the danger classification ordered should not be used. Consequently, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency had been entitled to order classification and labelling of the detergents based on the method described in Clause 6(1)(a), and the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the Agency.

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