UN GHS refers to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (purple book). It is an international system created by United Nations Committee of Experts on GHS, International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to address the classification of chemicals by types of hazards and harmonize hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. It aims at providing a basis for harmonization of rules and regulations on chemicals at national, regional and worldwide level, meanwhile, trade facilitation is also an important factor.
GHS has been implemented in many countries/regions such as Europe, USA, China, Japan and Korea, etc via their own legislation or standards. It is now considered as one of the most important regulations for the import and export of hazardous chemicals around the world.
The UN GHS 1st edition was released in 2003. From then on, United Nations Committee of Experts on GHS meets regularly to discuss the update of UN GHS and releases a revised GHS edition every two years. In September 2021, the 9th revised edition was formally released. Compared with the 8th revised edition, the 9th revised edition is amended in the following aspects:
1. The revision of abbreviations
The GHS Rev.9 has deleted some abbreviations in chapter 1.2, such as CA (competent authority), CBI (confidential business information), etc. Besides, some definitions, including definitions of chemically unstable gas, compressed gas, corrosive to metal, explosive article, etc, were also deleted in chapter 1.2. But these definitions can still be found in subsequent chapters.
2. The revision of chapter 2.1 (Explosives)
In Chapter 2.1, definition, scope as well as classification criteria have been updated:
1) Definition of division and primary packaging is newly added;
2) Contents under scope (18.104.22.168) and other consideration (22.214.171.124) are newly added;
3) Explosives are divided into two categories according to the 9th revised edition. Details are as follows:
The label elements for explosives are as follows:
The decision logic is updated accordingly.
3. The revision of decision logics
The decision logics have been revised. See the comparison between the Rev. 8 and Rev. 9 as follows:
4. The revision of the classification and labelling summary tables in Annex 1
The classification and labeling summary tables in Annex 1 have been updated. In GHS Rev. 9 the column “UN Model Regulation class or division” is newly added into the tables. Besides, the pictogram is also revised. Take Desensitized Explosives as an example:
In Rev.8, the classification and labelling summary table is as follows:
In Rev.9, the table is as follows:
5. The revision of hazard statements and precautionary statements in Annex 3
As the classification criteria of explosives have been updated, the hazard statements regarding explosives have also been revised. Details are as follows:
1. H200, H201, H202, H203, H205 are deleted;
2. Statements of H204 are partially revised;
3. H209, H210, H211 are newly added;
In terms of the precautionary statements, details are as follows:
1. Statements of P203, P210, P222, P230, P234, P240, P250, P280, P370, P372, P373, P375, P380 are partially revised;
2. P236 is newly added。
The following precautionary statements are also updated besides the above ones.
1. Statements of P264 are partially revised and P264 is applicable to serious eye damage and eye irritation;
2. P265 is newly added, which is applicable to serious eye damage and eye irritation;
3. The application scope of P377 and P381 is revised;
Above is a brief summary of revisions in GHS Rev. 9. Compared with Rev. 8, there are obvious changes in chapter 2.1 (Explosives). Besides, text boxes and some icons are simplified, for the convenience of reading. In Annex 1, class or division of dangerous goods transportations is newly added, for enterprises to judge the TDG category.
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