More than 350 officials from 16 countries met in France recently to start laying the groundwork for the ratification of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), which was adopted in mid-2007. During the meeting, delegates examined synergies with REACH, the status of the European regulatory procedure, new pictograms and criteria for the classification and labeling of substances and mixtures and the consequences of recent changes on business practices and safety data sheets.
It is hoped that the groundwork being laid now will be part of an overall process that will lead to inreasing harmonization over time, but according to the director-general of the European Commission's Enterprise and Industry Division, it will represent a significant departure from current regulations.
The new framework differs from the current EU system in that it sets a specific framework for both transport and use, it divides hazardous chemicals into different categories and it includes a different approach for mixtures.
The text from individual speakers at the meeting on GHS is available until March 15, 2008 at http://chemistry.prevention.issa.int/.
Also, the second revised edition of the United Nation's document on the GHS is now available at www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/ghs/ghs_rev02/02files_e.html. (Source: FEMA, FMA)