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On 14 September 2021 the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) published the 9th revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The changes include revisions to Chapter 2.1 (explosives), changes to Annex 1 of the classification and labeling tables, a few updated precautionary statements, updated test guidance, etc.
3E Verisk Review
Two new definitions have been added to Chapter 2.1 on explosives: “divisions” and “primary packaging.” Among the notable changes are newly established categories for explosives. The categories, unstable explosives and explosive divisions 1 through 6, which were in use until the 8th revised edition of the UN GHS, have been replaced with categories 1 and 2 for explosives (Table 2.1.1). Category 2 has three subcategories: A, B, and C. Divisions 1 through 6 are still listed as criteria for the classification of explosives. Changes were made to the labeling of explosives (Table 2.1.2). A new symbol, the exclamation mark, has been added to the label for explosives that are categorized as Category 2C. Two hazard statements, "explosive" and "fire or projection hazard," are applicable, depending on the explosive’s category. A new section, Additional Hazard Statement, has been added to Table 2.1.2 Label Elements for Explosives.
The decision logic content has been revised for several chapters and subchapters:
- Chapter 2.16 Corrosive to Metals
- Subchapter 2.17.7 within Chapter 2.17 Desensitized Explosives
- Subchapter 22.214.171.124 within Chapter 3.1 Acute Toxicity
- Subchapter 126.96.36.199 as a part of Chapter 3.2 Skin Corrosion/Irritation, etc.
The content of Annex 1 Classification and Labeling Summary Tables has been amended. The changes mostly reflect the newly introduced changes for the explosives and the new categories.
Annex 3, Section 3, Matrix of Precautionary Statements, has been revised. The content of the multiple precautionary statements has been changed. Among them are P230, P264, P264, P265, etc.
The changes listed in the 9th revised edition of the UN GHS are based on numerous amendments adopted by the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals during the December 2020 meeting.
3E Verisk Analysis
The UN GHS contains the building blocks for the classification, labeling, and safety data sheets (SDS) for chemicals and although it serves as a "basis for harmonization of rules and regulations on chemicals at the national, regional and worldwide level," it is still voluntary. However, stakeholders must pay attention to the changes introduced by the 9th revised edition of the UN GHS, since these changes will likely inspire changes to the national UN GHS implementation legislation for jurisdictions around the world.