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New Zealand adopts new labeling regulations

On April 30, 2021 new regulations on the labeling of hazardous substances took effect in New Zealand.

The regulations update requirements for product labeling, safety data sheets and packaging to comply with the 7th revised edition of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (GHS). The new system replaces the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) classification system from 2001.

Labels and safety data sheets for substances with an individual approval issued after April 30, 2021 are required to comply immediately with GHS 7 under the new regulation. For hazardous substances approved before April 30, 2021, and substances under a group standard, the legislator allows a four-year transition period (until April 30, 2025).

In addition to the amended notices, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) provides on their website further guidance material on the changes. The EPA notices can be accessed HERE.

The GHS is a global system on the classification and labeling of chemicals which was first issued by the United Nations in 2003. It aims at standardizing world-wide criteria for the safety classification of chemicals to minimize dangers for the human health and the environment and to facilitate international trade. The UN revises the standards biennially.

Like New Zealand, other countries gradually align their regulations with the 2017 issued 7th revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System. As such the EU has already accepted GHS 7 for labeling but lacks behind on adopting the system for safety data sheets which are currently based on the 5th edition. Australia finds itself since January in a two-year transition period to fully adopt GHS 7.

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