Little Pro on 2016-01-06
It is generally expected that the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) will be adopted for pesticides. The biggest impact of GHS on pesticides will be pesticide classification and product labels. While GHS has been adopted for industrial chemicals in workplace by a significant number of countries, many of them still follow the FAO Guidelines on Pesticide Registration and the FAO Guidelines on Good Labelling Practice for Pesticides (rather than GHS) to carry out pesticide hazard classification and prepare pesticide labels. In this article, we have analyzed how GHS may impact pesticide labelling and classification and analyzed the current situation of GHS adoption in pesticides sector.
GHS uses hazard class and hazard category to describe the nature and severity of chemical hazards. There are currently 29 hazard classes in GHS, among which the following classes are commonly seen on pesticides.
It is expected that chemical classification criteria for above hazard classes will be introduced for pesticides. It shall be noted that there is no hazard class for terrestrial animals (e.g., bees, mammals) in GHS. Different authorities may consider adding extra hazard classes for terrestrial animals when adopting GHS for pesticides.
The following GHS pictograms would be the most commonly used on pesticide labels in the future.
A GHS label can also be used for pesticides after slight modification. A typical GHS label for an industrial chemical includes the following basic elements:
An example of a GHS label for an industrial chemical can be found below:
In general, active ingredients, bulk pesticide formulations destined for reformulation, repackaging or disposal, or other pesticide formulation components are considered as industrial chemicals if they are not intended for direct use. It is recommended that classification and labelling of these compounds follow the GHS. Workers will reply on GHS labels for hazard information.
Similarly, the contents and layout of safety data sheets (SDS) that may accompany pesticide shipments or consignments should follow the provisions of the GHS. However, the registrant must ensure that the SDS which accompanies the product is consistent with the approved label. Furthermore, the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods – Model Regulations provide specific guidance on labelling and marking for transporting pesticides that belong to dangerous goods.
It is generally expected that a GHS pesticide label for end use products will need to include additional information. The extra required info may include instructions for use, content of AIs, requirements for personal protective equipment, re-entry intervals, and first aid statements.
Since pesticides are usually supplied in small packages, a label may not be big enough to include all GHS relevant info. Please read this good presentation on GHS labelling considerations for small containers given by Yunbo Shi at SCHC Meeting.
For some countries, risk-based GHS labelling may be adopted for end-use pesticides instead of regular GHS labelling, which is usually hazard-based.
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