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Maltese among least to know meaning of warnings on chemical products

34% of the Maltese incorrectly think that an exclamation mark on chemical product means that it represents an environmental hazard

james
James Debono
23 June 2017, 10:00am
The survey showed that the majority of EU respondents gave an incorrect answer when asked about the meaning of the exclamation mark pictogram
The survey showed that the majority of EU respondents gave an incorrect answer when asked about the meaning of the exclamation mark pictogram
34% of the Maltese incorrectly think that an exclamation mark on chemical product means that it represents an environmental hazard. Only 12% correctly think that it is a warning that the product is a skin irritant.

Respondents in a European-wide survey were shown four chemical hazard pictograms and were asked whether they had seen each one before or not.

The survey showed that the majority of EU respondents gave an incorrect answer when asked about the meaning of the exclamation mark pictogram. 

The proportion that correctly gave the meaning of the exclamation mark pictogram (Pictogram 1) varied by member state. It is by far the highest in Finland (36%), followed by Estonia, the Czech Republic (both 26%), Slovakia and Luxembourg (both 25%). Respondents are least likely to know the correct meaning of the exclamation mark pictogram in Portugal (8%), Ireland, Spain (both 10%) and Malta (12%).

The survey also shows that 37% of the Maltese don’t know what the serious health hazard pictogram (Pictogram 2) means while 55% gave the correct answer; that it stands for a chemical product that causes asthma or other respiratory hypersensitivity reactions.

Respondents were most likely to say that they don’t know what the pictogram stands for in Malta (37%), Bulgaria and Portugal (both 31%

Across the EU, the majority of respondents give the correct meaning for the environmental hazard pictogram (Pictogram 3), and very few respondents gave incorrect answers. But respondents were most likely to give a ‘don’t know’ response in Malta (26%), Bulgaria (23%), Cyprus and Poland (both 20%).

In most countries, at least 95% of respondents give the correct meaning of the flammability pictogram (Pictogram 4). 

This applies to 100% of respondents in Denmark, and 99% of those in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden. 

The proportion that gives the correct response is much lower in Romania (78%) than in other countries, and is also relatively low in Malta, Poland (both 92%) and Slovakia (93%).

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...