The Aerosol Dispensers Directive (ADD) (Council Directive 75/324/EEC of 20 May 1975 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to aerosol dispensers) is one of the oldest EU regulations related to product safety. The directive has two objectives which are fulfilled by technical harmonisation at the European level:
- Guaranteeing those products within the scope of the directive will be safe for consumers and other users in respect of hazards related to pressure and where appropriate, flammability and inhalation.
- Securing the free movement of aerosol dispensers throughout the EU. As such, Member States must allow the marketing on their territory of aerosol dispensers that comply with the directive.
The directive defines aerosol dispensers as: “any non-reusable container made of metal, glass or plastic and containing a gas compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure, with or without a liquid, paste or powder, and fitted with a release device allowing the contents to be ejected as solid or liquid particles in suspension in a gas, as a foam, paste or powder or in a liquid state".
An aerosol dispenser is composed of a container, an actuator (button), a valve, a propellant and the actual active product. The container is made from metal, plastic or glass and holds the propellant and the product. Within the container, the propellant exerts pressure on the product. When the actuator is pressed by the user, the pressure will force the product out of the container.
The Aerosol Dispensers Directive includes specific requirements related to flammability and pressure hazard as well as a general obligation to analyse all hazards which could apply to a particular aerosol product. Based on such an analysis, the aerosol dispenser is designed, constructed and tested accordingly and meets the appropriate safety requirements concerning its use.
Although there has not been a full revision since its adoption in 1975, the ADD has been modified three times for adaptations to technical progress. These modifications were of technical nature to accommodate changes in technology (e.g. safely increasing the pressure in the containers resulting in better performance of the products) or to ensure coherence with other legislation (e.g. those related to the labelling requirements derived from the CLP Regulation).
Europe is a world leader in the sector of aerosol dispensers which concerns mainly consumer products (large volumes of products in various sectors: cosmetic, healthcare, food, etc.) although there are also a substantial number of products for professional use on the market (e.g. construction products, paints, lubricants, etc.).
Recent studies related to the Aerosol Dispensers Directive
The objective of this study is to support the European Commission in assessing the impacts of possible changes to the ADD as requested by industry (the European Aerosol Federation FEA). It concerns an increase in pressure to 15 bars at 50°C for aerosols with non-flammable propellants and an increase in capacity of plastic aerosols to 1000 ml.
Evaluation of the Aerosol Dispensers Directive
The Aerosol Dispensers Directive was subject to a formal evaluation in 2016 and 2017. The evaluation includes an assessment of all aspects related to the implementation of the Directive and aimed to identify possible weaknesses or areas where the Directive could be improved to cope with current and future challenges.
A public consultation was conducted between 30 September 2016 and 15 January 2017.
More information related to the Aerosol Dispensers Directive Evaluation:
- Commission staff working document (EN) on the evaluation of the Aerosol Dispensers Directive and the executive summary (EN, FR,DE)
- Final report including executive summary (2 MB)
- Roadmap (56 kB)
- Consultation strategy (93 kB)
- Background document (74 kB)