Reclassification of mineral oil in the EU

Some petroleum products can cause serious health problems when they are drunk accidentally. Even the smallest amounts can enter the respiratory tract and the lungs due to its low viscosity (fluidity). There they release chemically induced pneumonia, called aspiration pneumonia.

For the classification of such mineral oils (according to the CLP Regulation1 for all hydrocar-bons), the viscosity limit was 7mm2/s until 1st December 2010. Mineral oils or mineral oil preparations were then classified with the risk phrase R65 “Harmful, may cause lung damage if swallowed”. However, the viscosity limit of 7mm2/s has been increased to 20.5mm2/s under the CLP Regulation, whereby more products have to be classified.

The new viscosity limit applies from the entry into force of the CLP Regulation. Thus, since 1st December 2010, substances must be classified and labelled according to table 1, mixtures as of 1st June 2015.

When a mixture contains ≥ 10% of a mineral oil, which is classified in category 1, and when this mixture´s kinematic viscosity, measured at 40°C, is ≥ 20.5 mm2/s, this mixture itself is to be classified accordingly.

GHS2-pictogramGHS 08
Hazard StatementH304: May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways

Ester oil-based products are not affected by this classification.

1 REGULATION (EC) No 1272/2008 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006; PART 3 health hazards

  • 3.10.2 Classification criteria for substances
  • 3.10.3 Classification criteria for mixtures

2 GHS: Global Harmonized System. GHS is a global regulation which is implemented into the EU through the CLP regulation.