Wondering how to identify over- or under-classification from a supplier's Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and what the penalties could be should the information be incorrect or false? Read for some tips.

    Part 1: How to Identify Over- or Under-Classification

    Determining whether a product's hazard classification is over or under the legal requirement based solely on an SDS is a difficult task. The categorization process requires a thorough assessment of the dangers posed by a chemical, taking into account aspects like its toxicity, physical characteristics, and environmental impact, among other. 

    Here are a few steps you may choose to follow to evaluate a product's classification:

    1. Review the chemical's classification, including its physical, health, and environmental hazards, paying close attention to the Signal words, H and P codes (Hazards and Precautionary phrases), and pictograms.

    2. Consult reliable sources, such as regulatory guidelines, technical publications, or databases that provide information on hazard classifications.

    3. Seek expert judgment from a toxicologist, chemical safety professional, or health and safety specialist.

    4. Send your product for laboratory testing and apply the classification based on the tested value.


    Part 2: Fines and Penalties for SDS Non-compliance

    SDS regulations and the duties of a supplier or manufacturer vary according to their jurisdiction. The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) can provide some general information, but the rules and regulations may differ between the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, etc. Be that as it may, manufacturers and suppliers are most often required to mark containers appropriately, classify hazardous chemicals effectively, and submit accurate SDS.

    Suppliers who provide false or incorrect classification information may face legal consequences in the form of fines and penalties, civil liabilities, product recall or withdrawal, and criminal prosecution. The consequence and severity of penalties also differ based on the jurisdiction (and the nature of the violation).

    Manufacturers and suppliers should keep up to date with the applicable GHS regulations in their region, as well as conduct appropriate hazard assessments, provide accurate classifications, and maintain thorough documentation of SDS and labelling information in order to ensure compliance and reduce risks. 


    Part 3: SDS Authoring, the ERA way

    ERA’s SDS authoring software system lets you author GHS-compliant SDS and labels that instantly reference multiple databases, thus ensuring you get the most reliable and comprehensive data possible. Regulations/chemical lists tracked and maintained by ERA’s regulatory group include, but are not limited to:

    • Harmonized entries in Annex VI to CLP
    • Lethal Concentration 50 (LC50) and Lethal Dose 50 (LD50) lists
    • Lists from advisory agencies (for example, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program)
    • New Zealand's Chemical Classification and Information Database
    • OECD's eChem Portal
    • REACH Registration Dossier

    ERA’s research team maintains all the regulations within our Master Chemical and Regulatory List. You do not have to worry about poring through primary sources to find regulatory updates. 

    Explore ERA's SDS Authoring Software

    Mona Ebrahimi
    Post by Mona Ebrahimi
    June 23, 2023
    Mona is a GHS Chemical Regulatory Specialist and the EHS Project Manager at ERA.