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Proposal to change the classification system for hazardous substances in New Zealand


The Environmental Protection Authority is commencing consultation to update the current classification framework for hazardous substances to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), Revision 7 (2017).

The GHS is an internationally agreed system developed by the United Nations to classify chemicals and communicate their hazards through labels and safety data sheets. If adopted, it will ensure an internationally-aligned classification system for hazardous substances that facilitates trade, increases efficiency in chemicals management, and enhances the effectiveness of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996.

Should the decision to adopt GHS 7 be made, a new EPA Classification Notice will be issued that incorporates the GHS 7 by reference. This Notice would align with the EPA Labelling and Safety Data Sheet Notices, which already require compliance with the GHS. Having the classification system and compliance requirements aligned will reduce complexity for stakeholders.

We see a lot of benefits to adopting GHS, but are also mindful that there are costs and resource implications for others in doing this, and this is one of the areas we are hoping to get stakeholder feedback on. There are also a range of technical proposals we are seeking input on, for example which particular parts of the GHS we should adopt in New Zealand.

More detail is available on website here.

A link to the consultation document can be found here.

You can make a submission using our online form.

Submissions close at 5pm on 9 January 2020.