Brazilian Institute Proposes Revised Chemical Classification, Labeling, and Hazard Communication Standard

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Comments are due November 19, 2020, on a proposed revision to Brazil’s technical standard on chemical labeling and hazard communications, NBR 14725: “Information on Health, Safety, and Environment – General Aspects of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), Classification, SDS, and Labeling of Chemical Products” (“Informações sobre segurança, saúde e meio ambiente – Aspectos gerais do Sistema Globalmente Harmonizado (GHS), Classificação, FISPQ e Rotulagem de Produtos Químicos”). The proposed standard would replace Brazil’s existing standard of the same number, but would reorganize the material and update it to align with later UN reference (principally the 2017 Seventh Edition of the Purple Book).

Brazil’s national standards institute, the Brazilian Association for Technical Standardization (ABNT) published its first GHS standard in 2009 and has issued minor revisions and errata from time to time. The existing standard is a series of four related but separately published documents that cover overlapping topics: terminology, classification, labeling, and hazard communications (i.e., Safety Data Sheets, known by the Portuguese acronym FISPQ). The proposed standard would be the first comprehensive overhaul of Brazil’s GHS implementation, replacing the four-volume series with a single, consolidated document plus 17 annexes (A through Q).

ABNT standards are not binding legislation in and of themselves, but many are incorporated by reference into Brazilian laws or fill an essential gap in the regulations, and thereby become effectively binding. NBR 14725 establishes labeling and informational requirements that generally apply to potentially hazardous chemical substances used in workplaces throughout Brazil, and are increasingly required for other commercial and regulatory purposes, including recent chemical inventory initiatives.

When the proposed standard is published in its final form, its effective date will initiate a transition period in which both the existing and proposed standard will be valid as references for labeling and hazard communications. Two years later, the existing standard will expire, creating a deadline to ensure that all labels and SDS meet the new requirements.

Those interested in reviewing and potentially commenting on the proposed standard (in Portuguese only) can participate via ABNT’s public consultation portal.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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