Harmonising the Globe: Challenges in Implementation of Globally Harmonised System on the Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (Ghs) in China, Japan, Korea and the European Union
Posted: 2 Nov 2006
Date Written: October 2006
Together with globalization, the global harmonization has ever been the top agenda at all corners of international agenda. This paper aims to test workability of one of the most significant global harmonization initiatives, i.e., Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) which seeks to protect people from the mismanagement of chemicals, classifies them according to their hazard, and creates a labeling system based on pictograms universally understandable and a uniform safety data sheet system. In order to meet the potential implementation schedule by 2008 at the international level and by 2006 at the APEC level, China, Japan, Korea and the European Union have proposed or adopted relevant regulations and standards on GHS during 2005 and 2006. It has appeared that China may implement GHS in a form of "National Standards (guobiao)" without particular and clear references to existing chemical regulations; Japan may bring changes to the existing chemical regulations and standards, e.g., Labeling of Chemicals based on GHS (JIS Z 7251: 2006); Korea is likely to adjust main chemical regulations, e.g., Industrial Safety and Health Act, Standards on the Provision of Materials Safety Data Sheets; and the European Union has obviously proposed the Regulation on Classification and Labeling of Substances and Mixtures based on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) on 21 August 2006 which would completely overhaul the current legislation on the classification and labeling of chemicals and repeal Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC. It is our conclusion that anyone using chemicals will need to review and adjust standard operating procedures to identify, classify, label and handle chemicals accordingly under various country implementation measures. Systems used to identify and track chemicals used on site may have to be adjusted with time, confusion and complexity. The global harmonization will, however, greatly facilitate the development of corporate-, nation-, and world-wide procedures and systems, and thus chemical management in general.
Keywords: GHS, Globally harmonized system, chemical regulations, APEC
JEL Classification: K23, K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation