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Revised System for Provision of Information (SDS and Labelling) of Hazardous Chemical Substances by business operators

It is necessary to provide hazard information and methods of handling of hazardous chemicals correctly for safe transactions between business operators worldwide. Currently, the Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements to the Management Thereof (METI) and the Industrial Safety and Health Act (under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare [MHLW]) stipulate the way to provide such information and others on hazardous chemicals. METI has revised related ordinances, etc. to make conform with the “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)” established by the United Nations.

1. Purpose of the revision

In order to manage chemicals appropriately worldwide, it is necessary to provide hazard information (flammability, carcinogenicity, etc.) and methods of handling from the supplier to the recipient, according to GHS*, which is substantially becoming a global standard.  

METI has revised related ordinances and others based on the Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements to the Management Thereof (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) and Safety Data Sheet (SDS**) systems) ("the PRTR Law").

Notes on GHS and SDS systems

* GHS: A system created by the United Nations in 2003 for the purpose of establishing proper management for chemicals by classifying chemicals into the following sections "physical hazards," such as flammability, “health hazards," such as carcinogenicity, and "environmental hazards," such as aquatic toxicity. This information is provided through common labelling and SDS.

**SDS: A system in which business operators which deal in chemical substances or mixture containing such chemical substances are required to provide documents including information on the properties and handling of chemicals to improve the proper management of chemicals.

2. Details of the revision

  1. 1. Revised Provision of Information on the Properties and Handling of Designated Chemical Substances, etc. (Ordinance of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry No. 401 of 2000)

    [i] New additional information requirements in SDS
    In order to be consistent with the provisions with the revised GHS, six sections such as "first-aid measures", "exposure controls/ personal protection", etc. are added as information requirements in SDS under the PRTR Law. As for indicating the relevant information on the products, this has become an effort-obligation for business operators to follow the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) Z7253*** corresponding to GHS.

    As for SDS under the Industrial Safety and Health Act, the same effort-obligation is requested. As a result, the JIS has become de facto standard for provision of information on chemicals in business transactions.

    ***JIS Z7253 is a standard publicized in an official gazette on March 26, 2012, which covers the indication of information (Labelling and SDS) about hazardous chemicals based on GHS.

    Coordination of the Management Act with 16 sections of GHS as information requirements
    1. Identification of the substance or mixture and of the supplier 9. Physical and chemical properties
    2. Hazard identification 10. Stability and reactivity
    3. Composition/ information on ingredients 11. Toxicological information
    4. First aid measures 12. Ecological information
    5. Firefighting measures 13. Disposal considerations
    6. Accidental release measures 14. Transport information
    7. Handling and storage 15. Regulatory information
    8. Exposure controls/ personal protection 16. Other information including information on preparation and revision of the SDS
    The level of bold letters written in 6 sections has changed from "recommendations" to "requirements."

    [ii]. New labelling
    In order to be consistent with the GHS provisions, it has become an effort-obligation for business operators to provide information on the properties and handling of designated chemical substances in accordance with the PRTR Law, through new labelling of such chemical substances following JIS Z7253.

    Examples of labelling and symbols
    Flammable Acute toxicity Hazardous to the aquatic environment
    Combustible/Flammable Extreme toxicity Aquatic toxicity

    [iii] Abolishing mention of the Cabinet Order number
    In this revision, the obligation to mention the number of the Cabinet Order for specified chemical substances when providing information using SDS was abolished.

  2. 2. Revised Guidelines on Measures to Be Taken by Business Operators Handling Designated Chemical Substances, etc. with respect to the Management of Class I Designated Chemical Substances, etc. and Class II Designated Chemical Substances, etc. (Public Notice No. 1 of the Environment Agency and Ministry of International Trade and Industry of 2000).

    Wording stating that the business operators should voluntarily improve management of chemical substances according to the JIS Z7252 and Z7253 will be added to Article 3(2)(iv) of the Chemical Substance Management Guidelines under the PRTR Law, stipulating "Matters concerning utilization of information on the properties and handling of Designated Chemical Substances, etc."

Reference

Introduction status of GHS in other countries and areas.

EU:
Substances in Dec. 2010-; Mixtures in June 2015-
U.S.:
Both Substances and mixtures in June 2015-
China:
Both Substances and mixtures in 2011-
South Korea:
Substances in 2011-; Mixtures in 2013-
Taiwan:
Mixtures by 2015 (planned)-

3. Upcoming Schedule

Promulgation and notice April 20, 2012
Enforcement (revision of ordinance for substance and guideline) June 1, 2012
Enforcement (revision of ordinance for mixture) April 1, 2015

Release Date

April 20, 2012

Division in Charge

Chemical Management Policy Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau

 
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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