Technical Articles

Does GHS cover all hazardous chemicals?

In the field of chemical safety, the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) plays a crucial role in standardizing hazard communication and classification. But does GHS cover all hazardous chemicals? Let's dive deeper into this topic and explore the extent of GHS coverage.


The Globally Harmonized System was developed by the United Nations to create a consistent framework for classifying and labeling hazardous chemicals worldwide. Its primary aim is to enhance workers' and public safety by providing clear information on hazards associated with chemicals.

Under GHS, chemicals are categorized into different hazard classes based on their physical, health, and environmental effects. These classes include flammability, toxicity, carcinogenicity, corrosiveness, and more. GHS uses standardized pictograms, signal words, hazard statements, and precautionary measures to communicate the potential risks associated with these chemicals.

GHS coverage limitations

While GHS has made significant strides in harmonizing hazard communication globally, it does not cover all hazardous chemicals comprehensively. Some chemicals fall outside of GHS's scope for various reasons:

1. Non-classifiable hazards

There are certain hazardous substances or mixtures that do not fit into any of the existing GHS hazard classes. This may be due to insufficient data or the nature of the chemical being poorly understood. In such cases, alternative classification systems or regional regulations may be used.

2. National variations

Although GHS provides a global framework, individual countries have the autonomy to make modifications or exceptions to the system. These national variations can include additional hazard categories or different label requirements. It is important for manufacturers and users of hazardous chemicals to be aware of the specific regulations in each country they operate in.

3. Certain industry-specific chemicals

Some industries deal with highly specialized chemicals that have unique hazard profiles not fully covered by GHS. For example, certain pharmaceuticals, pesticides, or radioactive substances may require additional regulatory frameworks specific to their particular industry.


The Globally Harmonized System has made significant progress in establishing a standardized approach to hazard communication for hazardous chemicals worldwide. However, it is important to remember that GHS does not cover all hazardous chemicals comprehensively. Supplementary regional regulations, national variations, and industry-specific frameworks are essential for addressing the classification and communication of certain hazardous substances.

As chemical safety continues to evolve, ongoing efforts should be made to improve and expand GHS coverage, ensuring the safety of workers, communities, and the environment.


Contact: Nina She

Phone: +86-13751010017


Add: 1F Junfeng Building, Gongle, Xixiang, Baoan District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

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