The report of the 35th session the United Nations Secretariat's Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) was published on 26 July 2018. Some of the topics, including aerosols and hazard communication, will become the core of the upcoming 8th Rev. Edition of GHS.
The meeting agenda included a very broad spectrum of topics among which were:
- The use of manual of tests and criteria in the context of GHS;
- Updating references to ISO 10156 on gasses, gas mixtures, glass cylinders;
- The classification of aerosols and chemicals under pressure;
- Revised OECD Test Guideline 431 allowing sub-categorization for skin corrosion;
- Desensitized explosives;
- Classification of physical hazards according to GHS;
- Dust explosion and aspiration hazards;
- The use of non-animal testing methods for classification of health hazards; and
- Among other topics.
In respect to hazard communication issues, the meeting focused on labeling of small packaging, precautionary pictograms to reflect the precautionary statement “Keep out of reach of children,” changes to Annex 3 of GHS to reflect hazard sub-categories, proposed changes to P201 and P202, proposed changes to P310 through P315, etc. The experts of the Committee also discussed the development of a list of chemicals classified in accordance with GHS.
Among all discussed topics within the ambitious broad list of topics, a few have been finalized and have thus been included in the proposed amendment to the 7th revised edition of UN GHS, which will become the core of the upcoming 8th Rev. Edition of GHS.
Proposed for 8th revised edition of GHS
Adoption of ISO standards. Among the proposed changes is to update several ISO standards in Chapter 1.2 "Definitions and Abbreviations" and Chapter 2.2 "Flammable gases."
Aerosols. Several changes have been introduced for the classification of aerosols. The following principles have been proposed in respect to classification of aerosols:
- Flammable properties;
- Heat of combustion;
- If applicable: test results from the ignition distance test, the enclosed space ignition test and the aerosol foam flammability test, performed in accordance with sub-sections 31.4, 31.5 and 31.6 of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria.
The newly proposed Table 2.3.1 would set out criteria for the classification of aerosols and defines criteria on the three classes of aerosols.
Address inconsistencies in the annexes. The meeting also adopted the GHS Sub-Committee proposal (ST/SG/AC.10/C.4/2018/6) made in April 2018 on improving annexes 1, 2 and 3 of GHS. These proposed improvements would eliminate "inconsistencies in the presentation of precautionary statements in annex 3, including looking at disparities between the applications of precautionary statements for different hazard classes/categories."
Hazard communication. The meeting adopted a proposal to change hazard communication specifications including:
- Improve annexes 1 and 3 and further rationalization of precautionary statements;
- New pictograms that are proposed to be added to the precautionary statement "Keep out of reach of children." Introduction of this pictogram was triggered by the widespread illiteracy in some parts of the world which make the existing written statement useless and respectively is the main reason for incidents where young children come into contact with chemicals. The committee agrees that pictogram "may be used to convey information in more than one way." Two new pictograms were introduced for this purpose: the one from the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (AISE) and from the Japanese Soap and Detergent Association (JSDA).
Labeling elements. A proposal was also adopted which would further improve the examples in Annex 7 of GHS related to the arrangement of labeling elements. New examples of the labeling of sets or kits were added. The proposal reflects the existing demand for clarification on labels on outer and inner packaging. Two different scenarios were introduced with detailed instructions in regards to the content of the label based on different package shapes.
These changes should be expected to become the core of the upcoming 8th Revised Edition of GHS.
The next (36th) session of the Sub-Committee of Experts on GHS is scheduled for early December 2018.