GHS – Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

Worldwide there is a variety of different systems in place for the classification and the labeling of chemicals. Therefore it might happen that an identical substance is classified as toxic, harmful to health or as non-hazardous / not dangerous at the same time in different countries.


Substances with LD50 (oral) = 257 mg/kg

Regional Classification

GHS will introduce a number of worldwide harmonized criteria for the classification of physical dangers as well as dangers to health and the environment.

GHS specifies a worldwide standardized exchange of information:

GSH will improve the safety and health protection at the work place enormously as well as the product safety. Safety, health and environmental protection measures will be improvedon a global scale.

Implementation Schedule

All EU member states have accepted GHS by the end of 2008. Till December 1st 2010 (for substances) respectively till june 1st 2015 (for mixtures) the EU member states have time to categorize and label according to the new GHS criteria. In the meantime the EC directives for hazardous substances and perparations can be applied in parallel with GHS. Therefore there will be chemical products in circulation using the new or the old labeling at the same time. Products with the old labeling which are already on the market can still be sold for 2 more years after the expiration of these deadlines.

The New Label

This change will be most obvious in the exchange of information on dangers / hazards. The old symbols and their indications of dangers / hazards as well as the risk and safety phrases (R- and S- phrases) will be replaced by the new hazard pictograms, signal words as well as hazard statements and precautionary statements. There will be fundamental changes in the terminology. For example ′very toxic′ will be replaced by ′danger to life′.

The previous hazard statements (e.g. highly flammable or toxic) will be dropped. Instead there will be a signal word. The signal word will provide information on the degree of risk and will show the user the potential danger.

In GHS two signal word are available: ′Danger′ which stands for a serious danger category and ′Caution′ which points to a lower danger category.

Old Label
New Label

GHS – Dangers and safety notes

The number of hazard warnings and safety notes increases, the wording has been reworked.

The new hazard pictograms:

(examples for allocated hazard classes)

Our Responsibilities

Some links with further information on the topic of GHS: