Poison centre notifications are more than just a regulatory obligation – an example of how a detailed notification helps in the real world

Poison centre notifications are more than just a regulatory obligation – an example of how a detailed notification helps in the real world
07 April 2021

Poison centre notifications (PCN) are completed to provide information on hazardous mixtures classified for health or physical hazards. They are used by poison centres across Europe when poisoning incidents or exposures occur. Under Annex VIII of CLP (the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures Regulation (EC No 1272/2008)), submitting a PCN is mandatory for all companies placing mixtures on the market in European Member States. Therefore, organisations may view the process as a box-ticking exercise, but not understand why the regulation was introduced.

NCEC recently received feedback from one of its poison centre clients – a global cosmetics and fragrance organisation. The company described an incident where the detailed PCN that we completed for one of its products not only helped protect the health of a consumer, but also the company’s reputation.

A person living in France swallowed one of the company’s product that was not meant for human consumption. A doctor called the French Poison Centre for further treatment advice after seeing the full effect the product had on the person. Following this incident, the French Poison Centre called our client to say that the detailed notification file and product information had enabled their toxicologist to provide the correct medical advice, which was urgently needed to successfully treat the patient.

When a poison centre is contacted concerning an exposure to a mixture, it is crucial that it can provide accurate information on the full constituents of that mixture and, subsequently, their damaging effects. That is why the PCN process is complex, and each notification goes through a series of computer validation checks before the submission is approved. The notification needs to be detailed and written in an easy-to-read format to enable a rapid and successful medical response. 

Additionally, there are different regulations that affect Great Britain (GB) and the rest of the European Union (EU). NCEC would like to remind you that if you are exporting hazardous mixtures (that is, they are classified as hazardous on the basis of their health or physical effects) into the EU from GB or any other non-EU country and you don’t have an EU legal entity, then the EU importer (your customer, distributor or end user) will be obliged to notify EU Member State poison centres. For the Norther Ireland market, an Annex VIII dossier needs to be sent to the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS).

NCEC can support companies, irrespective of where they are based, to comply with poison centre obligations and enable them to have PCNs that are detailed, timely and are written with their end use in mind – to support an emergency response.

NCEC offers a full service for companies needing to submit PCNs for their hazardous mixtures and biocides. We will identify the specific data requirements for each Member State, tailored to your product range, and then liaise with the appropriate appointing receiving bodies to notify this information. Please contact us through the right-hand side form, via email at [email protected] or call us on +44 (0)1235 753654.