§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he expects to take to ensure that the draft EEC sixth amendment concerning the packaging of dangerous substances maintains the right of the United Kingdom Government to insist on the fluting of bottles containing poisons used in the home.
§ Dr. Summerskill:
An EEC directive of 1967 on the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances was already in force on our accession to the EEC and is about to be given effect in United Kingdom regulations. It harmonises the labelling and packaging requirements for a wide range of dangerous chemicals throughout the EEC and will raise the general standard of hazard warning in the United Kingdom. Fluting is not a part of this system so that the present fluting requirement will become unenforceable on bottles containing some 10 or 11 non-medicinal substances which are used in the home and subject to the control of the poisons law.781W
A sixth amendment to the 1967 directive is being drafted but is unlikely to become operative for several years. The Government are considering whether to press, in the negotiations on this amendment, for the reintroduction of fluting in respect of the substances affected so far and for its inclusion in other draft directives which would affect the packaging of non-medicinal dangerous preparations.
Early next year responsibility for the sales control of medicinal poisons will be taken over by the Secretary of State for Social Services. I understand that he proposes to retain the existing fluting requirement in respect of medicines for external use containing those substances which are currently listed poisons. They are unaffected by this series of directives.