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HazCom GHS stands for the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. It was originally proposed in 1992 at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and now after several years of development it is an international agreement brokered through the United Nations.
The HazCom GHS is a system to standardize the way hazardous materials are classified. The idea is that the same criteria will be used all over the world to determine if a material is flammable, toxic or corrosive and so on. We are then assured that if a material is considered toxic in China it will also be so in the USA, Europe, Brazil and elsewhere around the Globe.
The HazCom GHS also harmonizes the way hazards are communicated by means of Warning Labels and Safety Data Sheets.
Before the HazCom GHS different countries each had their own standards for determining what was hazardous and each had its own unique system for communicating these hazards. This created confusion and expense for companies manufacturing, using and selling their products across national borders, further requiring that each chemical be re-classified for that specific market. The HazCom GHS is intended to replace these multiple systems with a single unified approach.