United Nations GHS

The first edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was adopted in December 2002 and published in 2003. Since then, GHS has been updated, revised and improved every two years as needs arise and experience is gained in its implementation.
Fifth revised edition

Improvments: A new test method for oxidizing solids, miscellaneous provisions intended to further clarify the criteria for some hazard classes (skin corrosion/irritation, severe eye damage/irritation, and aerosols) and to complement the information to be included in the Safety Data Sheet; revised and simplified classification and labelling summary tables; a new codification system for hazard pictograms, and revised and further rationalized precautionary statements.

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Fourth revised edition

Improvments: A new hazard categories for chemically unstable gases and non-flammable aerosols; further rationalization of precautionary statements and further clarification of some of the criteria to avoid differences in their interpretation.

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Third revised edition

Improvments: A new provisions for the allocation of hazard statements and for the labelling of small packagings; two new sub-categories for respiratory and skin sensitization; the revision of the classification criteria for long-term hazards (chronic toxicity) to the aquatic environment; and a new hazard class for substances and mixtures hazardous to the ozone layer.

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Second revised edition

A new and revised provisions concerning the classification and labelling of explosives; respiratory and skin sensitizers; toxic by inhalation gases and gas mixtures; additional guidance on the interpretation of the building block approach and on the evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of chemicals; and the codification of hazard and precautionary statements.

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First revised edition

Improvments: Various revised provisions concerning classification and labelling, new provisions for aspiration hazards and new guidance on the use of precautionary statements and pictograms and on the preparation of safety data sheets.

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First edition

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) addresses classification of chemicals by types of hazard and proposes harmonized hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. It aims at ensuring that information on physical hazards and toxicity from chemicals be available in order to enhance the protection of human health and the environment during the handling, transport and use of these chemicals. The GHS also provides a basis for harmonization of rules and regulations on chemicals at national, regional and worldwide level, an important factor also for trade facilitation.
While governments, regional institutions and international organizations are the primary audiences for the GHS, it also contains sufficient context and guidance for those in industry who will ultimately be implementing the requirements which have been adopted.

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