Chemical warning labels on cleaning products set to change

Chemical warning labels on cleaning products set to change

The chemical warning labels that adorn all household and commercial cleaning products are set to change as part of the United Nations Global Harmonised System (GHS). The rational behind this move is to harmonise the depictions into one standard set of pictographic labels across all trading nations, and to adopt a more precautionary stance on the statements given.

In order to give consumers and industry time to adapt to this new system, manufacturers will be able
to continue using the “old” warning labels over a transitional period. The timing of the switch depends
on whether the chemical is a pure substance or a component in a mixture. Substances had to be
classified, labelled and packaged in conformance with the new regulations by 1st December 2010,
although substances already on the shelves on that date can continue to be supplied until 1st
December 2012. The corresponding dates for mixtures are 1st June 2015 and 1st June 2017.

The Chemical Hazards Communication Society (CHCS) has created a website which can be accessed at

They have also produced a handy guide to the meanings of the new symbols which can be downloaded at ‘New labels for chemical products – do you know what they mean?’

Rafael Cobos