GHS Implementation: CEFIC Publishes a Worldwide Overview

The European Chemical Industry Council (Conseil Européen des Fédérations de l’Industrie Chimique: CEFIC) has published a report on the status of GHS implementations in a total of 79 countries and regions.

In the foreword to the report, the association calls the Globally Harmonized System of Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals (GHS) a central pillar of international chemicals management. Nevertheless, many countries – some 120 in 2018 – have not yet introduced the requirements of the GHS. This number include many countries in which the chemical industry is rapidly growing.

In addition to the members of the EU, 22 countries around the world have implemented the GHS. An additional 16 countries are in the process of implementing the system. As expected, the system is not widespread in Southwest Asia and Africa. So far, only 3 of the 54 African countries – Zambia, Mauritius, and South Africa – have adopted the GHS.

In the CEFIC press release that accompanied the publication of the report, product stewardship expert Veronique Garni criticized the sluggish implementation of the requirements in many countries and regions. According to Garni, the EU should make GHS requirements a condition of future trade agreements with these countries. That’s important, she says, because the need for chemicals in these countries is increasing, along with the urgency for safe handling and the corresponding chemical management.

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro agreed on the harmonization of the classification and labeling of chemicals and mixtures. The individual revisions of the GHS – currently in its eighth revision – can be downloaded from the UNECE Web site.

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