The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling for Chemicals (GHS) is an initiative taken by the United Nations which aims to set up a worldwide harmonized system for the classification and labelling of chemical products.
Compliance with GHS requires the adoption of new standardized pictograms, label formats and safety data sheets.
The Arkema group sells its chemical products in many countries where GHS is implemented. Its information system prepares Safety Data Sheets in accordance with the required format of each country. Each time a new country adopts GHS, the system is enhanced by the addition of the data and formats specific to that country.
A unique worldwide labelling system
In accordance with the spirit of GHS, the Arkema group has also developed a printing system for labels. Regardless of the country in which the product is manufactured and/or sold, the label contains easy to understand and consistent information taken from a centralized database.
GHS – unified communication about chemical products
Each region or country which chooses to implement GHS uses the same technical criteria and symbols to describe the hazard level of a chemical product.
This communication system allows for a clear understanding and safer use of the products. It facilitates the international trade of chemical products whose hazards have been accurately evaluated and identified at a global level.
The expansion of GHS started in September 2002 at the Johannesburg Summit. Countries were encouraged to include GHS in their national and regional regulations as soon as possible. Despite its non-binding character, many countries have adopted the GHS system, especially in Asia and Europe.
GHS is the culmination of a long process of work by experts and a compromise between the existing systems.
The CLP regulation – the European transposition of GHS
In Europe GHS was transposed in the Classification, Labelling and Packaging regulation (CLP) related to the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures.The CLP regulation is complementary to the REACH regulation.
In addition to transposing the GHS at EU level, the CLP regulation provides for companies that put hazardous mixtures on the market, the obligation to provide information on such mixtures for toxicovigilance purposes and to enable poison control centers to provide medical advice rapidly in an emergency situation.