September 13, 2017

UN Publishes 7th Revised Edition of the GHS "Purple Book"

The United Nations has published the 7th revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), widely known as the “Purple Book.” GHS, an international approach to hazard communication, is intended to address classification of chemicals by types of hazard and provide a harmonized approach to documents such as labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). Per the UN, the 7th edition provides additional guidance to extend the coverage of section 14 of SDSs, which covers transport information, “to all bulk cargoes transported under instruments of the International Maritime Organization, regardless of their physical state.” The new edition also includes revised and further rationalized precautionary statements in Annex 3, which, among other items, addresses the codification and use of precautionary statements. Annex 7, which provides examples of arrangements of the GHS label elements, includes a new example addressing labeling of small packaging with fold-out labels.

The electronic version of the Purple Book can be viewed and downloaded from the UN website.

To help track the status of implementation of GHS in countries around the world, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) maintains a webpage where it collects publicly available information from various sources. UNECE has currently compiled and summarized information about GHS implementation for 72 countries.