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EPA Seeks Comment on Plans to Apply New Global System to Improve Pesticide Labels

Release Date: 08/26/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: Enesta P. Jones 202-564-7873 /

(08/26/04) EPA is requesting comments on a white paper that describes various options the Agency is considering for implementing a new international system for pesticide labels. Called the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, or GHS, the new system sets out criteria for classifying chemical hazards and communicating those hazards on labels and safety data sheets. Countries have traditionally used different systems for informing workers and consumers about physical, health, and/or environmental hazards associated with the use of chemicals. More uniform and harmonized labels will improve communication regarding chemical safety for consumers and workers, and reduce barriers for companies engaged in international trade. After working for more than a decade with national and international partners and stakeholders to create a globally harmonized system, EPA and other agencies in the United States that regulate chemicals are preparing for adoption of the new classification criteria and label elements. The Agency is particularly interested in receiving feedback on the following: (1) regulations that may warrant review or possible revision; (2) the use of a pilot project before the final rules are in place; (3) the timing and sequence of implementation; (4) coordination of implementation planning efforts with other groups to make the process more efficient; and (5) recommendations for outreach and education activities. EPA recognizes that significant effort and time may be required to implement the GHS label changes and conduct effective outreach and education activities. EPA foresees this process occurring in multiple stages over several years. The comment period began Aug. 25 and closes Oct. 25. The white paper and a side-by-side comparison of the GHS with EPA's current pesticide labeling policies are available for review and comment on EPA's Web site at: .