November 6, 2020
The Brazilian Chemistry Committee (CB-010) of the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) opened a national consultation in October on the proposed Technical Standard NBR 14725: Chemicals – Information about Safety, Health and Environment – General Aspects of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), Classification, SDS, and Labeling of Chemicals.
The purpose of reviewing this standard is to implement a more updated version of the GHS for Brazil, the 7th edition of the Purple Book, and to unify into a single document the current Standard that is divided into 4 parts: Terminology; Classification; Labeling and Safety Data Sheets.
The draft Technical Standard NBR 14725 is composed of 7 sections and 520 pages and once it is finally published, there will be a 2-year transition period for companies to meet the label and SDS requirements. However, companies can start using the updated version as reference as soon as it is issued.
What will the changes with this update be?
Under item 5.2.17, Desensitized explosives will be included for a total of 17 physical hazards classes.
Under item 5.2.2, Flammable gases will be divided in: Category 1A (Subdivided into Flammable gas; Pyrophoric gas; Chemically unstable gas A and B), Category 1B and Category 2.
Under 5.4.2, the class Dangerous to the ozone layer will be added to environmental hazards.
The criteria for classifying mixtures with new cut-off values and generic concentration limits were published in the Amendment of 2019 but until then they were optional. The proposed NBR 14725 Technical Standard will make these criteria mandatory.
Under item 18.104.22.168, a phrase indicating where to find the MSDS was mandatory. This requirement will become optional and may be added in the label, if necessary.
For hazardous ingredients in mixtures, item 22.214.171.124.2 establishes that it is optional to report only the chemical identity of the most severe ingredient for each of these hazard classes: Acute toxicity, Skin corrosion, Serious eye damage, Specific target organ toxicity – single exposure – category 3 and Aspiration hazard. Inclusion of all ingredients/elements of an alloy that contribute to the hazard on the mixture label is also optional.
Under item 6.7, specification for labeling small packages (<or equal 250ml) will include alternative forms of labeling.
The word “Cuidado”, which was an option for “Attention” will no longer be considered a signal word and only the word “Atenção” may be used, according to item 126.96.36.199.
Annex G tables provides information on GHS classification and labeling that correlates with the risk labels applicable to transport.
Safety Data Sheet Content
Under item 3.133, a local phone number in case of emergency must be available 24 hours a day.
There are now 104 hazard statements, compared to 75 hazard statements before, and there are also statements that were already in existence, but have changed the text.
Under item 6.8, examples of alternative means of communicating hazards in the workplace were included, such as the information being displayed in the work area rather than on individual containers, the use of process flow charts, physical and electronic means (such as computer screen or wall murals), coding systems and permanent signaling for fixed piping.
Annex A relates to the composition of mixtures, the chemical identity, CAS number and the concentration or concentration range of all hazardous ingredients for health or the environment must be provided on the SDS, if it belongs to one of these specific hazard classes: Acute Toxicity, Skin corrosion/skin irritation, Serious eye damage/eye irritation, Aspiration hazard and Dangerous to the Acute and Chronic Aquatic Environment, which contribute to the hazard classification of the mixture.
Under Section 9, it also requires the provision of the characteristics of the particles, indicating size (average and range) and if applicable, the distribution, form and specific area (only applicable to solids).
A GHS comprehensibility assessment methodology is part of Annex J, which is mandatory according to NR-26, where it states that “workers must be trained to understand preventive labeling and the chemical safety data sheet, as well as dangers, risks, preventive measures for safe use and procedures for acting in emergency situations with the chemical product”.
Annexes K and O, based on Annex 9 of the Purple Book point out the classification for hazards to the aquatic environment and Annex P based on Annex 10 presents a guidance on transformation of metals in aqueous media.
Suggestions or comments on the draft can be done by November 19, 2020, through ABNT portal (in Portuguese only).
Decree 2657 (which was revoked by Decree 10.088 of November 5, 2019) established the obligation of a SDS for chemicals in the workplace on March 3rd, 1998. It specified that the criteria for preparing a SDS should be established by the competent authority or by a body approved or recognized by the competent authority. Furthermore, Edict SIT 229 of May 24, 2011 enacted the classification, labeling and elaboration of safety data sheets for chemical products to be according to GHS criteria.
ABNT, as an organization that provides voluntary technical standards for Brazilian companies, was adopted as the body approved to present guidelines for classification, labeling and safety data sheet elaboration of chemical products according to GHS. Since NBR 14725 is the only norm that incorporates the GHS criteria, it became the reference adopted nationwide. However, other laws and decrees applied to chemical products or the users of those products takes precedence over ABNT norms (such as ANVISA regulations for sanitizing product labels, for instance).
Recommended Action Items
Review the Draft NBR 14725 Technical Standard and submit your comments through ABNT portal by November 19, 2020.
Brazilian Chemical Industry Association (Abiquim) – https://abiquim.org.br/comunicacao/noticia/9208
Decree 10.088 of November 5, 2019. Provides for the promulgation of Convention No 170 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), on Safety in the Use of Chemicals at Work – http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_Ato2019-2022/2019/Decreto/D10088.htm#art6
Edict SIT 229 of May 24, 2011. Modify Norm NR 26, which sanctions classification, labeling and safety data sheet for all chemical products in Brazil – https://enit.trabalho.gov.br/portal/images/Arquivos_SST/SST_Legislacao/SST_Legislacao_Portarias_2011/Portaria-n.-229-Altera-a-NR-26.pdf