Better Regulation and Safe Use (BRE&S) Project

Context and objectives of the BRE&S project

  • EU Better Regulation agenda : framework and a mind-set shift for improvements to EU legislation
  • A.I.S.E. proactively engaged to drive safe use of products (on pack info, specific projects/campaigns)
  • CLP (since June 2015) leading to disproportionate on-pack labelling
  • EU assessment confirms high administrative cost of chemical legislation for the detergent sector 

What?

Improve effectiveness of safe use communication (labels and other means, e.g. digital), to make sure that consumers:

  • notice the safety information
  • understand it, and
  • act upon it

Product scope?

Household detergent and maintenance products

How?

  • In a resource/cost efficient way for business
  • Enabling greater flexibility and innovation
  • Proportionate to actual risk
Read more:

Who is involved?

  • Lead role : A.I.S.E. network & industry experts (R&D, regulatory, marketing, market research, designers)
  • In close dialogue and interaction with :
    • Medical personnel (Poison Control Centers, specialists)
    • EU and National Authorities
    • Other partners (NGOs, other industries, ...)

A.I.S.E. activities and achievements   

Contribution to EU assessments

  • Active contribution to the EU Commission Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT)  assessments (e.g. cumulative cost assessment, case studies around chemicals legislation)

Understanding the landscape

  • Aggregation of existing data/studies
  • Consultation with PCCs (May 2016)
  • Stakeholder workshop (June 2016) 

Qualitative consumer research 

Subject: Consumer experience with current labelling In this study (SynapsesQuali, June 2016) 30 face-to-face interviews were conducted, in three countries (Belgium, Spain and Poland).  The interviews took 1h45 each.  All 30 panellists were buyers and users of household cleaning products, and were recruited from a mix of consumer profiles.  
The study included a deep dive discussion on back labels of detergent products, focusing on safety perception, ranking of hazards, and what to do in crisis scenarios.The panellists generally did not like the current product back labels, because of their information overload and difficult-to-understand content.  Hazard perception, safe use anfd first-aid behaviour were mainly driven by prior knowledge and experience, rather than by the labels. 

Read more:poster and summary slides 

Quantitative consumer research

The effectiveness  of current and alternative labelling options to convey the safety message, and consumers' comprehension of safe-use icons and regulatory pictograms has been tested with consumers within and outside of Europe.

European consumer research

An on-line consumer research study with 1800 respondents in four countries across Europe (Poland, Sweden, France, Spain) was conducted by InSites Consulting (March 2017). Three label executions were compared including more graphical alternatives to the current approach. Comprehension and ‘stickiness’ of label elements was assessed using open questions as wel as ranking exercises. Also, the expected behaviour in case of an accidental exposure was investigated. Separately, comprehension of the A.I.S.E. safe use icons was tested by mean of the stringent GHS methodology (based on open questions), and benchmarked relative to key CLP/GHS pictograms. 

Respondents preferred the simpler labels versus the current approach. Safe use practice appears to be determined mostly intuitively, rather than from the label. Indeed only limited differences could be seen between the label options, and respondents did not appear to read the label content in detail. Nevertheless, consumers appreciate that useful safety information is present on the label.  The most important A.I.S.E. safe use icons were adequately understood - especially ‘keep away from children’ was better understood than the tested CLP pictograms. 
Read more summary, full study report, and full PPT report with detailed results.

Consumer research outside Europe

Four non-European countries (United States, Brazil, China and South-Africa) were selected to conduct a comprehensibility test on the A.I.S.E. icon ‘Keep out of reach of children’, according to Annex VI GHS (comprehension by the general public) with the aim of detecting differences in the comprehension level already demonstrated in Europe. The study was launched October 2017 and the results were presented to the 34th Session of the Sub Committee on the GHS in December 2017. The sample size was 424 consumers. 

The vast majority of respondents were able to correctly understand the meaning of the icon and no critical confusion was detected.
  • Brazil: 93% understanding
  • South Africa: 89% 
  • United States: 86%
  • China: 69%

In summary, considering the 2017 testing only (UN GHS Annex VI compliance countries, EU and non EU) there is an average understanding of 88.6%.