Updated on 18 September 2017
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 introduced to 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 July 2017, the 7th revised edition was
formally released. Compared with the 6th revised edition, the 7th revised edition is amended in the following aspects:
1. Definitions and Acronyms
definitions of dermal corrosion, dermal irritation, eye irritation, serious eye
damage, skin corrosion and skin irritation in Chapter 1.2
the definition of skin sensitizer, replaced “a substance” with “a substance or
of Hazard Communication: SDS
the hazard class “aspiration hazard” in table 1.5.1, the cut-off
value/concentration limit of categories 1 and 2 was updated and the condition
of kinematic viscosity was deleted. Details are shown as follows:
6th Revised Edition
7th Revised Edition
Aspiration hazard (category 1)
≥10% of category ingredients, kinematic
viscosity ≤ 20.5 mm2/s at 40°C.
Aspiration hazard (category 2)
≥10% of category ingredients, kinematic
viscosity ≤14 mm2/s at 40°C.
3. Addition of New Classification Criteria
under Flammable Gases and Updates of Criteria for Categorization
Information concerning the ILO standards under the Recommendation 177 on “Safety in the use of chemicals at work”, ISO 11014 of the International Standard Organization (ISO), the European Union Safety Data Sheet Directive 91/155/EEC and the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standard Z 400.1 in 22.214.171.124.3 was deleted.
7th Revised Edition integrated the Table 2.2.1, 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 in
the 6th revised edition; A flammable gas is classified in 1A, 1B or
2 and flammable gases that are pyrophoric and/or chemically unstable are always
classified in Category 1A
criteria for categorization of flammable gas (category 1B) was added: Gases
which meet the flammablility criteria for category 1A, but which are not
pyrophoric, nor chemically unstable, and which have at least either (a) a lower
flammability limit of more than 6% by volume in air; or (b) a fundamental
burning velocity of less than 10 cm/s)
3 was newly added: In the absence of data allowing classification into Category
1B, a flammable gas that meets the criteria for Category 1A is classified per
default in Category 1A.
126.96.36.199 amended and added corresponding signal words, pictograms and hazard
the determination method of burning velocity of flammable gases (ISO817: 2014
Annex C) in paragraph 188.8.131.52.1;
Amended the parameters for the calculation of a flammable gas mixture.
equivalency factors (Ki) for the inert gases versus nitrogen were revised as Ki(Ar)=0.55,
Tci coefficients for the flammable gases were revised as Tci H2=5.5%, Tci CH4=8.7%.
of the Classification Criteria for Flammable Solids
the end of paragraph 184.108.40.206 to read as follows: …and the reaction spreads over
the whole length of the sample (100mm) in 10 minutes or less.
of the Definition and Classification Criteria for Acute Toxicity
paragraph 3.1.1, definition of acute toxicity was changed as: serious adverse
health effects (i.e., lethality) occurring after a single or short term oral,
dermal and inhalation exposure to a substance or mixture.
the classification criteria. In paragraph 220.127.116.11, inserted the sentence “while
some in vivo methods (e.g. using fewer animals) determine LD50/LC50 values
directly, other newer in vivo methods consider other indicators of acute
toxicity, such as significant clinical signs of toxicity, which are used by
reference to assign hazard category”.
Table 3.1.1 the ATE values were revised from maximum value to range value.
paragraph 18.104.22.168 added the consideration approaches and principles in cases
where data from human experiences: In cases where data from human experiences
(i.e. occupational data, data from accident databases, epidemiology studies,
clinical reports) are also available, they should be considered in a weight of
evidence approach consistent with the principles described in 22.214.171.124.9.
of the Definition of Skin Corrosion/Irritation
7th revised edition deleted the 4-hour time limit. Definitions of
skin corrosion/irritation were revised as follows:
corrosion: The production of irreversible damage to the skin; namely, visible
necrosis through the epidermis and into the dermis occurring after exposure to
a substance or mixture.
Skin irritation: The production of reversible damage to the skin after exposure to a
substance or mixture.
of the Definition of Serious Eye Damage/Eye Irritation
7th revised edition deleted the 21-day observation period.
Definitions of serious eye damage/eye irritation were revised as follows:
eye damage: The production of tissue damage in the eye or serious physical
decay of vision, which is not fully reversible, occurring after exposure of the
eye to a substance or mixture.
Serious eye irritation: The production of changes in the eye, which are fully
reversible, occurring after exposure of the eye to a substance or mixture.
of the Definition of Respiratory or Skin Sensitization
the 7th revised edition, mixtures were also defined as
of the Definition of Germ Cell Mutagenicity
the definition of germ cell mutagenicity: Germ cell mutagenicity refers to
heritable gene mutations, including heritable structural and numerical chromosome
aberrations in germ cell occurring after exposure to a substance or mixture.
of the Annexes
the classification of flammable gases was updated, the corresponding information
in Table A1.2 was revised as well.
Codification and use of precautionary statements in Annex 3 were extensively updated, which
should be omitted where P202 is used;
consumer products, P201 should be omitted where P202 is used;
inserted a new row for the hazard class “reproductive toxicity, effects on or
via lactation”, hazard category “additional category”);
the hazard class acute toxicity oral category 5, added precautionary codes P301
may be omitted where P333 is used;
the hazard class desensitized explosives category 4, added precautionary code P375;
acute toxicity inhalation category 3, added precautionary code P501; and
a new precautionary statement P503: Refer to manufacturer / supplier /… for
information on disposal / recovery / recycling; applicable for explosives - unstable
explosives and Divisions 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5.
code P231+P232, deleted hazard class pyrophoric liquids and pyrophoric solids;
of precautionary statements:
and A126.96.36.199 were added in A3.3.1.They respectively focused on the workplace
training on occupational health and safety procedures; addition of information
based on the composition of products, information shown on the container, label
and safety data sheets; and that protective effect of pictogram is limited and
pictogram is not a substitute of training.
was discussed in details in four aspects in the 7th revised edition.
They are: omission of precautionary statements where the advice is not
relevant, combination or consolidation of precautionary statements; variation
of texts not affecting the safety message; and the application of precautionary
statements concerning medical response
188.8.131.52 in the 7th revised edition. If the products are consumer
products, the general precautionary statements listed in Table 3.2.1 should
also be labeled on the GHS label.
of SDS preparation guidance
Table 184.108.40.206, added a test method ISO817:2014, Annex C, to determine the
fundamental burning velocity if the gas is classified as flammable gases
A220.127.116.11, discussed the transport in bulk in details, including the liquid
bulk cargos, solid bulk cargos and liquefied gas cargos.
A new example for fold-out labels of small containers was added.
Fold-out labels include front page, text page
and back page. The front page should contain at least: product identifier, hazard
pictogram(s), signal word and supplier identification. A symbol to inform the
user that the label can be opened to illustrate that additional information is
available on inside pages is also required. The text page should contain:
product identifier (including hazardous components contributing to the
classification), signal word, hazard statements, precautionary statements and
other information (such as directions for use and information required by other
regulations). If more than one language is used on the fold-out label, the
country codes or language codes are required. The back page should contain:
product identifier, hazard pictogram(s), signal word and supplier
there are different fold-out labels styles, e.g. book style, order book style
and window style.
The 7th revised edition amended the classification criteria for
flammable gases, which makes it stricter and easier for understanding; updated
the definitions of some health hazards, such as acute toxicity, skin
corrosion/irritation and serious eye damage/eye irritation, mainly called off
the specific requirements for exposure time or symptom observation time. The
use and preparation of precautionary statements were amended. Besides, the
latest GHS also added a new example of fold-out labels for small containers. In
this way, even if the container is small, the large number of hazard statements
assigned to the chemical can be placed on the label.
GHS implemented in China aligns with the UN GHS 4th revised edition.
As the result, the release of the latest GHS will not affect imported products.
However, as some countries that have already implemented GHS may also amend
relevant GHS regulations and standards to align with the
7th revised edition. CIRS warmly reminds that enterprises exporting
products to other countries should pay close attention to the GHS systems of
the exporting countries.
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Amendments to the sixth revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
Introduction to UN GHS
UN GHS 7th edition