#UFIMattersEU: ECHA´S new social media campaign on the importance of the UFI code

Last year, poison centers across Europe handled around 600,000 calls about accidental poisoning, and almost half of them reported incidents involving young children.

And is that, not being really aware of it, our homes are full of products that contain potential harmful chemicals: materials for crafts, cleaning products of common use, gardening supplies, etc. As adults, we are aware of the danger they entail, but children perceive reality differently, and some of them, because of their colors or even their scents, may in fact be attractive to them.

For this reason, the European Chemicals Agency - ECHA has just launched an awareness campaign to teach adults how to find valid and effective information on these products in the event of an accident.

Why is the UFI code important?

The idea of the UFI code is simple. It is a unique 16-character formula identifier that appears on labels and contains information about the product, its uses, ingredients, hazards and toxicity.

Thus, in the event of accidental poisoning, this numerical code allows emergency operators to immediately identify the toxicological information of the product and advise the caller or medical personnel on the correct treatment, if any, in a faster and easier way.

In these kind of incidents, reaction time is very important, and according to the information collected by the poison information centers, in previous years the people who attended these emergencies estimated that in 40% of the calls received they had difficulties to identify with precision the product in question, which led to excessively cautious treatments.

#UFImattersEU campaign

Aware of the potential of some chemicals to harm our health, ECHA has just launched the social media campaign #UFImattersEU, which has a double objective:

  • 1. Encourage people to always keep the number of their reference poison information center on their phone and to locate the UFI code when purchasing these types of products.
  • As of 2025 it will be mandatory, but since January 2021 many of them have already added it to their packaging. It should always be clearly visible on the label, next to the brand or trade name, or in hazard information including, for example, pictograms and tips on how to use the product safely.

  • 2. Get these messages out to as many people as possible through a social media campaign with posts that include the hashtags #UFImattersEU and #EverySecondCountsEU.

Siam joins this campaign and also highlights the importance of notifying the products to the PCN and attaching the UFI on the label.

Let's avoid among all accidents with chemicals.