GHS 101: GHS Definitions
Aerosols - means any non-refillable receptacles made of metal, glass or plastics and containing a gas compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure, with or without a liquid, paste or powder, and fitted with a release device allowing the contents to be ejected as solid or liquid particles in suspension in a gas, as a foam, paste or powder or in a liquid state or in a gaseous state. Aerosol includes aerosol dispensers.
Alloy - means a metallic material, homogeneous the naked eye, consisting of two or more elements so combined that they cannot be readily separated by mechanical means. Alloys are considered to be mixtures for the purpose of classification under the GHS.
Aspiration - means the entry of a liquid or solid chemical product into the trachea and lower respiratory system directly through the oral or nasal cavity, or indirectly from vomiting.
ASTM - means the "American Society of Testing and Materials".
BCF - means "bioconcentration factor".
BOD/COD - means "biochemical oxygen demand/chemical oxygen demand".
CA - means "competent authority".
Carcinogen - means a chemical substance or a mixture of chemical substances which induce cancer or increase its incidence.
CAS - means "Chemical Abstract Service".
CBI - means "confidential business information".
Chemical identity - means a name that will uniquely identify a chemical. This can be a name that is in accordance with the nomenclature systems of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) or the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), or a technical name.
Competent authority - means any national body(ies) or authority(ies) designated or otherwise recognized as such in connection with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
Compressed gas - means a gas which when packaged under pressure is entirely gaseous at ‑50°C; including all gases with a critical temperature <‑50°C.
Contact sensitizer - means a substance that will induce an allergic response following skin contact. The definition for "contact sensitizer" is equivalent to "skin sensitizer".
Corrosive to metal - means a substance or a mixture which by chemical action will materially damage, or even destroy, metals.
Criteria - means the technical definition for the physical, health and environmental hazards.
Critical temperature - means the temperature above which a pure gas cannot be liquefied, regardless of the degree of compression.
Dermal Corrosion: - see skin corrosion.
Dermal irritation: - see skin irritation.
Dissolved gas - means a gas which when packaged under pressure is dissolved in a liquid phase solvent.
EC50 - means the effective concentration of a substance that causes 50% of the maximum response.
EC Number or (ECN°) - is a reference number used by the European Communities to identify dangerous substances, in particular those registered under EINECS.
ECOSOC - means the "Economic and Social Council of the United Nations".
EINECS - means "European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances".
End Point - means physical, health and environmental hazards.
ErC50 - means EC50 in terms of reduction of growth rate.
EU - means "European Union".
Explosive article - means an article containing one or more explosive substances.
Explosive substance - means a solid or liquid substance (or mixture of substances) which is in itself capable by chemical reaction of producing gas at such a temperature and pressure and at such a speed as to cause damage to the surroundings. Pyrotechnic substances are included even when they do not emit gases.
Eye irritation - means the production of changes in the eye following the application of test substance to the front surface of the eye, which are fully reversible within 21 days of application.
Flammable gas - means a gas having a flammable range with air at 20°C and a standard pressure of101.3kPa.
Flammable liquid - means a liquid having a flash point of not more than 93°C.
Flammable solid - means a solid which is readily combustible, or may cause or contribute to fire through friction.
Flash point - means the lowest temperature (corrected to a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa) at which the application of an ignition source causes the vapors of a liquid to ignite under specified test conditions.
Gas - means a substance which (i) at 50 °C has a vapor pressure greater than 300 kPa; or (ii) is completely gaseous at 20 °C at a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa.
GESAMP - means "the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection of IMO/FAO/UNESCO/WMO/WHO/IAEA/UN/UNEP."
GHS - means "the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals".
Hazard category - means the division of criteria within each hazard class, e.g., oral acute toxicity includes five hazard categories and flammable liquids includes four hazard categories. These categories compare hazard severity within a hazard class and should not be taken as a comparison of hazard categories more generally.
Hazard class - means the nature of the physical, health or environmental hazard, e.g., flammable solid carcinogen, oral acute toxicity.
Hazard statement - means a statement assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazards of a hazardous product, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
IARC - means the "International Agency for the Research on Cancer".
ILO - means the "International Labor Organization".
IMO - means the "International Maritime Organization".
Initial boiling point - means the temperature of a liquid at which its vapor pressure is equal to the standard pressure (101.3kPa), i.e., the first gas bubble appears.
IOMC - means the "Inter-organization Program on the Sound Management of Chemicals".
IPCS - means the "International Program on Chemical Safety".
ISO - means International Standards Organization.
IUPAC - means the "International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry".
Label - means an appropriate group of written, printed or graphic information elements concerning a hazardous product, selected as relevant to the target sector(s), that is affixed to, printed on, or attached to the immediate container of a hazardous product, or to the outside packaging of a hazardous product.
Label element - means one type of information that has been harmonized for use in a label, e.g., pictogram, signal word.
LC50 (50% lethal concentration) - means the concentration of a chemical in air or of a chemical in water which causes the death of 50% (one-half) of a group of test animals.
LD50 - means the amount of a chemical, given all at once, which causes the death of 50% (one half) of a group of test animals.
L(E)C50 - means LC50 or EC50.
Liquefied gas - means a gas which when packaged under pressure, is partially liquid at temperatures above-50°C. A distinction is made between.
(i) High pressure liquefied gas: a gas with a critical temperature between -50°C and+65°C; and
(ii) Low pressure liquefied gas: a gas with a critical temperature above +65°C.
Liquid - means a substance or mixture which at 50°C has a vapor pressure of not more than 300kPa (3bar), which is not completely gaseous at 20 °C and at a standard pressure of 101.3kPa, and which has a melting point or initial melting point of 20°C or less at a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa. A viscous substance or mixture for which a specific melting point cannot be determined shall be subjected to the ASTM D 4359-90 test; or to the test for determining fluidity (penetrometer test) prescribed in section 2.3.4 of Annex A of the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).
MARPOL - means the "International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships".
Mixture - means a mixture or a solution composed of two or more substances in which they do not react.
MSDS - means "Material Safety Data Sheet" and in this document is used interchangeably with Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
Mutagen - means an agent giving rise to an increased occurrence of mutations in populations of cells and /or organisms.
Mutation - means a permanent change in the amount or structure of the genetic material in a cell.
NGO - means "non-governmental organization".
NOEC - means the "no observed effect concentration".
OECD - means "The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development".
Organic peroxide - means a liquid or solid organic substance which contains the bivalent -0-0- structure and may be considered a derivative of hydrogen peroxide, where one or both of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals. The term also includes organic peroxide formulation (mixtures).
Oxidizing gas - means any gas which may, generally by providing oxygen, cause or contribute to the combustion of other material more than air does.
Oxidizing liquid - means a liquid which, while in itself not necessarily combustible, may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause, or contribute to, the combustion of other material.
Oxidizing solid - means a solid which, while in itself not necessarily combustible, may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause, or contribute to, the combustion of other material.
QSAR - means "quantitative structure-activity relationships".
Pictogram - means a graphical composition that may include a symbol plus other graphic elements, such as a border, background pattern or color that is intended to convey specific information.
Precautionary statement - means a phrase (and/or pictogram) that describes recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous product, or improper storage or handling of a hazardous product. Product identifier means the name or number used for a hazardous product on a label or in the SDS. It provides a unique means by which the product user can identify the substance or mixture within the particular use setting (e.g. transport, consumer or workplace).
Pyrophoric liquid - means a liquid which, even in small quantities, is liable to ignite within five minutes after coming into contact with air.
Pyrophoric solid - means a solid which, even in small quantities, is liable to ignite within five minutes after coming into contact with air.
Pyrotechnic article - means an article containing one or more pyrotechnic substances.
Pyrotechnic substance - means a substance or mixture of substances designed to produce an effect by heat, light, sound, gas or smoke or a combination of these as the result of non-detonative, self-sustaining exothermic (heat-related) chemical reactions.
Readily combustible - solid means powdered, granular, or pasty substance or mixture which is dangerous if it can be easily ignited by brief contact with an ignition source, such as a burning match, and if the flame spreads rapidly.
Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Manual of Tests and Criteria - means the latest revised edition of the United Nations publication bearing this title, and any published amendment thereto.
Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations - means the latest revised edition of the United Nations publication bearing this title, and any published amendment thereto.
Refrigerated liquefied gas - means a gas which when packaged is made partially liquid because of its low temperature.
Respiratory sensitizer - means a substance that induces hypersensitivity of the airways following inhalation of the substance.
RID - means The Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail [Annex 1 to Appendix B (Uniform Rules concerning the Contract for International Carriage of Goods by Rail) (CIM) of COTIF (Convention concerning international carriage by rail)], as amended.
SAR - means "Structure Activity Relationship".
SDS - means "Safety Data Sheet" and in this document is used interchangeably with Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
Self-Accelerating Decomposition Temperature (SADT) - means the lowest temperature at which self-accelerating decomposition may occur with substance as packaged.
Self-heating substance - means a solid or liquid substance, other than a pyrophoric substance, which, by reaction with air and without energy supply, is liable to self-heat; this substance differs from a pyrophoric substance in that it will ignite only when in large amounts (kilograms) and after long periods of time (hours or days).
Self-reactive substance - means a thermally unstable liquid or solid substance liable to undergo a strongly exothermic decomposition even without participation of oxygen (air). This definition excludes substances or mixtures classified under the GHS as explosive, organic peroxides or as oxidizing.
Serious eye damage - means the production of tissue damage in the eye, or serious physical decay of vision, following application of a test substance to the front surface of the eye, which is not fully reversible within 21 days of application.
Signal word - means a word used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label. The GHS uses 'Danger' and 'Warning' as signal words.
Skin corrosion - means the production of irreversible damage to the skin following the application of a test substance for up to 4 hours.
Skin irritation - means the production of reversible damage to the skin following the application of a test substance for up to 4 hours.
Skin sensitizer - means a substance that will induce an allergic response following skin contact. The definition for "skin sensitizer" is equivalent to "contact sensitizer".
Solid - means a substance or mixture which does not meet the definitions of a liquid or gas.
SPR - means "Structure Property Relationship".
Substance - means chemical elements and their compounds in the natural state or obtained by any production process, including any additive necessary to preserve the stability of the product and any impurities deriving from the process used, but excluding any solvent which may be separated without affecting the stability of the substance or changing its composition.
Substance - which, in contact with water, emits flammable gases means a solid or liquid substance or mixture which, by interaction with water, is liable to become spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable gases in dangerous quantities.
Supplemental label element - means any additional non-harmonized type of information supplied on the container of a hazardous product that is not required or specified under the GHS. In some cases this information may be required by other competent authorities or it may be additional information provided at the discretion of the manufacturer/distributor.
Symbol - means a graphical element intended to succinctly convey information.
Technical name - means a name that is generally used in commerce, regulations and codes to identify a substance or mixture, other than the IUPAC or CAS name, and that is recognized by the scientific community. Examples of technical names include those used for complex mixtures (e.g., petroleum fractions or natural products), pesticides (e.g., ISO or ANSI systems), dyestuffs (Color Index system) and minerals.
UNCED - means the "United Nations Conference on Environment and Development".
UNCETDG/GHS - means the "United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals".
UNITAR - means the "United Nations Institute for Training and Research".
UNSCEGHS - means the "United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals".
UNSCETDG - means the "United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods".
Access the UN’s GHS Third Revision by Clicking the Links Below:
- Foreword and table of contents
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Physical hazards
- Part 3: Health hazards
- Part 4: Environmental hazards
- Annex 1: Allocation of label elements
- Annex 2: Classification and labelling summary tables
- Annex 3: Codification of hazard statements, codification and use of precautionary statements and examples of precautionary pictograms
- Annex 4: Guidance on the preparation of Safety Data Sheets
- Annex 5: Consumer product labelling based on the likelihood of injury
- Annex 6: Comprehensibility testing methodology
- Annex 7: Examples of arrangements of the GHS label elements
- Annex 8: An example of classification in the Globally Harmonized Systems
- Annex 9: Guidance on hazards to the aquatic environment
- Annex 10: Guidance on transformation/dissolution of metals and metal compounds