06 December 2012

Local Leaders Learn GHS Strategies on Chemical Hazards and Precautionary Labels


Quezon City. Global initiatives towards the proper management of chemicals have gradually made its way at the local scene as about 80 people from various sectors in Quezon City attended the training on chemical hazards and proper labeling.

The EcoWaste Coalition, in partnership with the Board of Investments (BOI), a government agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, and the National Movement of Young Legislators (NMYL), has conducted a workshop on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals at the Barangay Hall of Barangay Damayan, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City.

GHS is a new-fangled, internationally-approved system for chemical hazard communication, which includes harmonized chemical hazard classification standards and requirements for standardized labels and safety data sheets.

Workshop participants – barangay leaders and officials – came from different barangays in Quezon City.

“This training seeks to inform local leaders about the physical, health and environmental hazards of chemicals, consequently introducing them about GHS and its practical applications to our everyday lives,” said Coun. Doray Delarmente of Quezon City, National President of NMYL.

“Suffice knowledge about chemical regulatory systems like GHS will enable our local leaders to create a local implementation plan for GHS that will possibly allow us to implement such policy in our areas of jurisdiction,” she added.

Quezon City is one of the most dynamic cities in the country in terms of investment and trade promotion. According to its official website, “Quezon City was regarded as the most competitive city in Metro Manila and the second most competitive city in the Philippines, based on the responses of businessmen surveyed by the Asian Institute of Management in 2007.”

It will be advantageous to the fiscal stability and economic growth of the city if GHS will be implemented as it will trim down health care costs, improve workers’ protection and reduce the likelihood of industrial disasters due to improper handling of chemicals.

GHS schemes will help increase the profits of local businesses and industries as costs of enforcement and compliance with hazard communication regulations will be significantly reduced since the possibility of having duplicative testing of chemicals on commercial products will be avoided. GHS labeling will also enhance corporate image and integrity.

As chemist Tess Corpuz mentioned in her presentation, “the GHS provides information about the hazards of chemicals, thereby helping consumers determine appropriate safety precautions needed in handling these chemicals.”

“An internationally consistent GHS includes distinguishable chemical hazard classification, user-friendly labeling system, and instructive hazard information on labels and safety data sheets,” she said.

Under the standardized scheme for chemical labeling, a GHS label includes a symbol or pictogram, signal word (e.g. “danger,” “warning”) and hazard statement (e.g. “fatal if swallowed,” “toxic if swallowed,” “harmful if swallowed,” “may be harmful if swallowed”). 

Other important GHS label information includes the product identifier, supplier identification and the relevant precautionary statement/s.  

All hazardous chemicals, including pure substances as well as dilute solutions and mixtures, are covered by the GHS.

The Quezon City workshop organized by the EcoWaste Coalition, just like the ones held in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija and Cebu City, Cebu last November 8 and 23, respectively, are financed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) under the BOI-UNITAR GHS Project.

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 For more information about GHS, please log on to:
http://www.unitar.org/cwm/ghs

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