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Chemical’s assessment

Since the adoption of the GHS, a number of countries, international, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations have reviewed, for their own purposes, hazard characterization of chemicals in accordance with the GHS criteria. This information is in many cases publicly available. A non-exhaustive list of available resources is shown below. It should be borne in mind that while some of the GHS classifications available are linked to legal instruments of mandatory application, others are provided only as a tool to help with GHS implementation in a given country, region or sector but are not mandatory. Users should be aware of the applicability and legal status of these classifications. 

The GHS Sub-Committee has also been working on the possible development of a list of chemicals classified in accordance with GHS. Information about this activity is provided below.

Work of the GHS Sub-Committee on the possible development of a list of chemicals classified in accordance with the GHS

The GHS Sub-Committee has been studying the possibility of developing a global list of chemicals classified in accordance with the GHS since 2008. Since then, a number of activities have been conducted, including: a survey of international classification lists, development of a set of guiding principles, a pilot classification project and a list comparison exercise. For details on the progress these developments from 2008 to 2017, refer to the background information in document ST/SG/AC.10/C.4/2017/4, paragraphs 4 to 12.

In 2021 a GHS global classification list survey was conducted (informal document INF.20) and the results were presented at the forty-second session of the Sub-Committee in July 2022. The results of the survey covered the responses received from competent authorities (INF.20/Add.1), the secretariat and the World Health Organization (INF.20/Add.2) and several non-governmental organizations (INF.20/Add.3).

WHO chemicals publications
Information on GHS classification is now routinely included within published chemical evaluations from WHO, including Concise International Chemical Assessment Documents (CICADs) and Environmental Health Criteria (EHCs).

WHO/ILO International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSC)
WHO started to include GHS classifications in new and updated ICSCs in April 2006. A database compiling ICSCs was developed by WHO and ILO is available online. It provides direct access to more than 1700 cards in several languages. Where relevant, the classification criteria for the GHS have been incorporated in the decision process for determining the information which appears on each ICSC. The ICSCs have been identified as a mechanism for making GHS classifications of chemicals more widely available. The ICSCs have also been identified as a mechanism for making GHS classifications of the nanomaterial forms of chemicals available, in addition to the bulk forms.

OECD tools and work on hazard assessment of chemicals
OECD assists countries in developing and harmonizing methods for assessing risk to human health and the environment, including methodologies for hazard and exposure assessment. On 25 May 2018, the OECD Council adopted a "Decision-Recommendation on the Co-operative Investigation and Risk Reduction of Chemicals", by which it was decided among other things that "Adherents shall implement the GHS in order to further hazard communication in the supply chain." and recommended that "Adherents communicate and share classifications derived pursuant to the GHS with other Adherents.". 

OECD has developed or contributed to a number of tools to assist countries with hazard and exposure assessment and GHS implementation. This is the case for instance of the eChemPortal, an online portal containing data sources and information on chemicals, developed and made available by OECD in cooperation with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The eChemPortal provides exposure and use information on chemicals and direct links to collections of chemical hazard and risk information prepared for government chemical review programmes at national, regional and international levels. Classification results according to national/regional hazard classification schemes or to the GHS are also provided when available. 

Last update date: October 5, 2022