European Community number

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This article is about the European Community system for coding chemicals. For the Enzyme Commission codes, see Enzyme Commission number.

The European Community number, or EC number, also known as EC No., EINECS No., and EC#, is a unique seven-digit identifier that is assigned to chemical substances for regulatory purposes within the European Union by the regulatory authorities. The list of substances having an EC number is called the EC Inventory.1


The EC Number may be written in a general form as: NNN-NNN-R,2 where R is a check digit and N represents integers. The check digit is calculated using the ISBN method. According to this method, the check digit R is the following sum modulo 11:

R = (N_1 + 2 N_2 + 3N_3 + 4N_4 + 5N_5 + 6N_6) \mod 11

If the remainder R is equal to 10, that combination of digits is not used for an EC number. To illustrate, the EC number of dexamethasone is 200-003-9. N1 is 2, N2 through N5 are 0, and N6 is 3.

\frac{2 + 2\!\times\!0 + 3\!\times\!0 + 4\!\times\!0 + 5\!\times\!0 + 6\!\times\!3}{11} = \frac{20}{11} = 1 + \frac{9}{11}

The remainder is 9, which is the check digit.

Official EC inventory

The EC Inventory includes the substances in the following inventories. The content of these inventories is fixed and official.

Inventory Scope Format No. of entries (if fixed No. of entries)
European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances, (EINECS) Substances, excluding polymers, that were recorded as being commercially available in the EU from 1 January 1971 to 18 September 1981.3 These were considered registered under Article 8(1) of the Dangerous Substances Directive (67/548/EEC). They are considered phase-in substances under the REACH Regulation 2xx-xxx-x
European List of Notified Chemical Substances, (ELINCS) Substances notified under the Dangerous Substances Directive Notification of New Substances (NONS) that became commercially available after 18 September 1981citation needed. 4xx-xxx-x 4,381
No Longer Polymers (NLP) The definition of polymers was changed in April, 19924 with the result that substances previously considered to be polymers were no longer excluded from regulation. Consequently, a list, called the NLP-list, was made of such substances that were commercially available between after 18 September 1981 and 31 October 1993.5 5xx-xxx-x 703

List numbers

ECHA also applies the EC number format to what it calls "List numbers".6 The number are assigned by when a substance is pre-registered or inquired about under the REACH Regulation. They are not official because they have not been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The number of these two categories is open ended, as substances are continually being added.

Scope Format
Automatically assigned, e.g. to pre-registrations of substances with a CAS No. 6xx-xxx-x
Assigned to substances after inquiries by the ECHA Substance ID Team 7xx-xxx-x
Automatically assigned to substances identified only with a CAS No. (continuation of the 6xx-xxx-x series) 8xx-xxx-x
Automatically assigned, e.g. to pre-registrations without a CAS No. or other numerical identifier (including reaction masses of more than one substance) 9xx-xxx-x

See also


External links

  • ESIS European Chemical Substances Information System, where EC numbers can be looked up.
  • EINECS numbers list from Chemsynthesis
  • Ovid Summary of legislation related to EC numbers

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