The Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally agreed-upon system for the classification and labeling of chemicals. The GHS was developed by the United Nations to replace individual sets of classification and labeling standards used in different countries with a single, standardized set of criteria for the classification and labeling of chemicals on a global scale.

GHS requirements outline standardized requirements for the following:

  1. Classification of chemical substances and mixtures based on their physical, health, and environmental hazards.
  2. Hazard communication principles, including Labeling Requirements and the content and format of Safety Data Sheets – SDS.

GHS pictograms represent the following hazards:

Exploding Bomb: Explosives, Self Reactives, Organic Peroxides

Gas Cylinder: Gases Under Pressure

Flame: Flammables, Self Reactives, Pyrophorics, Self-Heating, Emits Flammable Gas, Organic Peroxides

Flame Over Circle: Oxidizers

Corrosion: Skin Corrosion/Burns, Eye Damage, Corrosive to Metals

Health Hazard: Carcinogen, Mutagenicity, Reproductive Toxicity, Respiratory Sensitizer, Target Organ Toxicity, Aspiration Toxicity

Exclamation Mark: Irritant (eye & skin), Skin Sensitizer, Acute Toxicity, Narcotic Effects, Respiratory Tract Irritant, Hazardous to Ozone Layer (non-mandatory)

Skull & Crossbones: Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)

Environment: Aquatic Toxicity

UN GHS Website

UN GHS Implementation Webpage


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