Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally consistent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information through labels and safety data sheets (SDSs).
The key objectives of the GHS are to:
- Increase protection of people and the environment through the adoption of an improved, globally recognized standard for communicating the hazards associated with chemicals;
- Facilitate trade through common labelling and other hazard communication requirements; and,
- Lower costs for businesses by reducing the need for retesting and reclassifying hazardous chemicals from, or for, different markets.
The GHS at the United Nations
Canada and other international partners, including the United States and the European Union, have worked together to develop a single, globally harmonized system to address classification of chemicals according to their hazards and communicate the related information through labels and SDSs.
The GHS is a dynamic system. The United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS (UNSCEGHS) meets twice a year to advance updates to the GHS.
- makes the GHS available for worldwide use and application
- makes guidance available on the application of the GHS
- promotes understanding and use of the system and encourages feedback
Information on the GHS activities at the United Nations level, including up-to-date information on the GHS classification criteria and requirements for labels and SDSs, is available on the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) website.
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