I have found the inconsistencies in classification to be dramatic. I reviewed an SDS of a urethane hardener mix from a Japanese firm that indicates the material is a GHS 1 for acute toxicity – and lists code H310 for Fatal in Contact with Skin as well as a variety of other classifications for flammability (H225 – 2 hazard) and skin sensitivity (H334 – GHS 1 and H317 – GHS 1). This is the only SDS I’ve seen on this material, but the available MSDSs for several similar materials don’t come close to showing that degree of hazard. As you can imagine, my client is quite hesitant to use the material, although the only hazardous components for toxicity are several isocyanates present in concentrations below 1%. I would think that an SDS for Super Glue would have to have the same type of classification! Hopefully the UN committee will come up with a good mechanism to encourage consistency.
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The lists that are in the Chemwatch article are government lists of chemical classifications/hazards from the Japanese, New Zealand and South Korean governments.
There is another study done by the UN GHS secretariat. They compared the transportation hazards to the EU CLP/GHS hazards, "GHS classification of dangerous goods most commonly carried: comparison between transport classification and EU CLP Regulation". This paper which is posted on the UN GHS website shows a similar lack of harmonized hazard classifications.
The EU ECHA Classification and Labeling Inventory that records industry GHS hazards also shows the lack of harmonization. For example there are 69 entries for acetone and 119 for toluene.
However, the UN GHS subcommittee is aware of this lack of harmonization. They are looking at approaches to developing a global list that would have harmonized hazard classifications for chemicals.The USA government is chairing the UN working group looking at developing this globally harmonized list of chemicals classified according to the GHS.
Michele R. Sullivan, Ph.D.
a message dated 11/21/2013 1:11:56 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**CORNELL.EDU writes:
I noticed an interesting article at
about the challenge of GHS:
What does GHS stand for?
Chemwatch have undertaken a systematic comparison of GHS classification published by official sources in:
New Zealand (CCID)
A total of 12,452 Substances were reviewed.
Interestingly there was very little overlap between Substances reviewed by any two Jurisdictions - Korea and New Zealand reviewed 1494 Substances in common.
However, where Substances in common where assigned GHS Classifications, fewer than 8% were in agreement - New Zealand and the European Union agreed on only 75 Substances of 939 Substances.
< 8% Harmonisation between any 2 Jurisdictions
< 0.6% Harmonisation between any 3 Jurisdictions
I'm not quite sure of what to make of this data. I wonder if anyone on the list has done international comparisons that include the US?
Ralph Stuart CIH
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
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