Perspectives: Compliance Advisor

Canada Eyes Hazardous Products Regulation

Some GHS proposals vary from the U.S. approach

By Lynn Bergeson, regulatory editor

On August 9, 2014, Canada published a proposal for adopting the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). GHS compliance is a big issue for just about all manufacturers, and understanding the approach of our neighbor to the north is important. This column summarizes the highlights.

The  proposal aligns current systems for classification, material safety data sheets (MSDS), and labels with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communications Standard published in 2012 (HCS 2012) and the approaches used in other countries that have similar GHS frameworks. To align with HCS 2012, the proposed GHS would come into force no later than June 1, 2015.

The Canadian Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), which has been in place since 1988, is implemented at the federal level through the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) and the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR). Suppliers of hazardous chemicals intended for workplace use are required to classify these products and provide hazard information through MSDSs and labels. Under the authority of the amended HPA, Canada would repeal and replace the CPR with a new regulation, the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), that would implement GHS. Canada proposes to implement the United Nations (UN) fifth revision of GHS and, to the maximum extent possible, align it with the U.S. HCS 2012. The proposed HPR would also repeal the Ingredient Disclosure List and require amendments to several other regulations.

Key Changes
Canada describes five broad areas where the proposed HPR will differ from the current CPR: a new approach to establishing classification of workplace hazardous chemicals; classification of physical hazards; classification of health hazards; hazard communication; and exemptions. Similar to both the UN model and HCS 2012, classification is based on available data; no testing is required for classification purposes.

The proposal notes that combustible dusts won’t be regulated when shipped in non-dust form, which, when processed, would represent the hazard of combustible dusts. This differs from the U.S. approach to this category. Canada also proposes adding a “Physical Hazards Not Otherwise Classified” (PHNOC) category to capture some hazards not addressed in either the UN model or HCS 2012, including products that undergo vigorous polymerization.

Similar to the approach for physical hazards, health hazards would be an extension of hazards currently covered by the CPR and additional hazards, including specific target organ toxicity, single exposure and aspiration hazard. The proposal also adds “Health Hazards Not Otherwise Classified” (HHNOC) to address elements not covered by GHS and a separate hazard class for Biohazardous Infectious Materials to maintain current CPR worker protection.

Hazard communication would include replacing the term MSDS with safety data sheet (SDS) and a proposed 16-section format with standardized GHS headings. To align with the HCS 2012, Sections 12 to 15 would be optional. The HPR also proposes the disclosure on the SDS of the chemical name and concentration or concentration range of all ingredients that present a health hazard.

The proposal establishes the use of new standardized UN pictograms, hazard statements, signal words, precautionary statements and supplemental label elements.  The proposal would allow omission of non-applicable precautionary statements unlike the HCS 2012. The current CPR symbol for biohazards would be retained, but the hatched border around the label would be eliminated. Information provided on the SDS and label must continue to appear in English and French, but revising the SDS every three years in the absence of new information would no longer be required. If new significant information becomes available, the SDS and the label must be updated within 90 days and 180 days, respectively. The seller is expected to transmit in written form the new information and the date upon which it became available to the person who acquires the product; an importer must obtain or prepare such information.

The changes appear to align for the most part with the HCS 2012 and the UN GHS model. Careful review of the proposal is essential.


bergeson-color.jpgLYNN BERGESON is Chemical Processing's Regulatory Editor. You can e-mail her at lbergeson@putman.net

Lynn is managing director of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that concentrates on conventional, biobased, and nanoscale chemical industry issues. She served as chair of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (2005-2006).

More from this perspective...

Title

Compliance Advisor: Think Small for Water Management

EPA hosts conference on decentralized wastewater treatment systems.

08/05/2009

Safety Comes First for Nanotechnology

Online guide provides innovative path to product stewardship.

07/13/2009

Anti-Terrorism Mandates Face Major Revision

Prospective legislation may put more emphasis on inherent safety.

06/08/2009

Compliance: Vehicle Emissions May Prove Costly

EPA proposes to find that GHGs endanger public health.

05/11/2009

Program Targets Toxic "Hot Spots"

EPA rolls out school monitoring air initiative.

04/14/2009

Chemical Leasing is a Viable Option

Use it to promote sustainable management of chemicals

03/13/2009

Court Strikes Down Key Emissions Exemption

Decision tightens hazardous air pollution emissions standards.

02/20/2009

Legislators Set Agenda for Change

Regulations are expected to target the chemical industry in 2009.

01/15/2009

EPA/Corps Try to Clear Muddied Waters

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issue joint guidance about Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

12/11/2008

Expect More Water Regulation Everywhere

EPA gets tough on arsenic levels in drinking water

11/18/2008

EPA Finally Amends Definition of Solid Waste

Rule provides exclusions for reclamation of hazardous secondary materials.

10/22/2008

Compliance Advisor: New bills target chemicals

Congress considers kid-safe chemicals legislation

06/17/2008

Hazardous chemical shipments face rerouting

DOT issues new railway rules to keep safety and security on right track

06/02/2008

Biomonitoring continues to gain momentum

CDC outlines criteria for removing chemicals from national report

05/02/2008

Act before there’s not a drop to drink

The Ground Water Protection Council is taking an active role.

02/13/2008

Get the lead out

EPA rethinks air quality standards, seeks comments.

02/05/2008

Product stewardship grows globally

Product stewardship is more essential today than ever before. Globally, stewardship initiatives, whether mandatory or voluntary, are emerging with regularity, and their significance should neither be ignored nor underestimated. Here’s why.

01/07/2008

EPA clarifies position on ion-generating equipment

Claims about a product’s ability to kill pests, including germs, can lead to EPA regulation, says Lynn Bergeson, regulatory editor.

10/30/2007

EPA assesses link to greenhouse gases

Steps taken during manufacturing can significantly impact landfill emissions, advises Lynn Bergeson, regulatory editor, in this month's Compliance Advisor column.

09/27/2007

Tiny particles are drawing big interest

Regulatory Editor Lynn Bergeson discusses how a voluntary program aims at responsible development of nanotechnology in this month's Compliance Advisor column.

08/31/2007