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UN releases newly revised 7th edition of GHS – System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

In July 2017, the United Nations published revised guidelines for the classification and labeling of chemicals in the 7th edition of their Globally Harmonized System purple book, originally published in 2003.  Several minor updates were made to various health hazard outcome definitions, as well as the classification of selected flammable gases, among other changes.  The definitions of ten health hazard outcomes were updated to remove specific time periods of exposure or to allow for the incorporation of the term “mixtures” into the definition.  An additional notable change was the categorization of pyrophoric and chemically unstable gases.  In the 6th edition, these gases were considered an additional sub-category that may or may not fit into the definition of Category 1 or 2 for flammable gases.  The recent revisions further divide Category 1 into Categories 1A and 1B, where pyrogenic and chemically unstable gases fall under Category 1A.

The last major alteration was the addition of an example label that should be used for small containers (see figure above).  This label shows the necessary physical and health safety data and where such data are to be located on the folded, expandable label.  These new revisions would be of particular note for individuals or companies involved in the transport and receipt of hazardous chemicals.

For a more detailed reading of the revisions, please see UNECE 7th edition GHS website here or the amendments to 6th edition here.