FAQs on GHS Pictograms

What is GHS?
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GHS stands for Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

The GHS is an initiative by the United Nations aiming to harmonize chemical hazard communication. This includes harmonized criteria for classification of substances and mixtures according to their physical, health, and environmental hazards, as well as harmonized hazard communication elements.

The first version of GHS was published in 2003 and updated each 2 years since.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

Has the chemical composition of reagents changed?
Have any changes to reagents occurred that could affect the intended use of the kit?
What are the main elements of a GHS label?
Which products are affected from the change?
How is QIAGEN informing customers?
I'm working in a lab. What must I do?
Back to top Has the chemical composition of reagents changed?

No, GHS will not lead to any change in the chemical composition of our products. Therefore, the hazard potential remains unchanged. Only the look of our labels and packaging will be affected.

Back to topHave any changes to reagents occurred that could affect the intended use of the kit?

No, GHS will not lead to any change in the intended use of our products. Only the look of our labels and packaging will be affected.

Back to topWhat are the main elements of a GHS label?

GHS is based on 16 physical, 10 health, and 3 environmental classes of hazard. These hazards are communicated by the combination of a pictogram, signal word, and statements of the hazard and the precaution to be taken.

Requirements of label
Required Description
Pictograms GHS implemented 9 hazard pictograms
Signal word "Danger" or "Warning"
Hazard statements A statement assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including the degree of hazard (where appropriate)
Precautionary statements A phrase that describes recommended measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical
Back to topWhich products are affected from the change?

Only labels for components that are classified under GHS as hazardous materials will be affected.

Back to topHow is QIAGEN informing customers?

Before shipping the first GHS-labeled products, QIAGEN will begin including in each despatched kit box the Important Note (see GHS Labeling below) giving an overview of the coming changes due to GHS.

Back to topI'm working in a lab. What must I do?

The new GHS regulation implies you must:

  • Inform and train your staff
  • Apply the new labeling to your own mixtures
  • Update workplace safety guidelines and other documentation

See the information below and visit the United Nations webpage (see External Links below) for more information.


Resources

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External Websites
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GHS Labeling
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Steps to implement the requirements of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).
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Example representation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) compared with the previous hazard symbols.
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Images
Gas cylinder (Gas under pressure, Risk of explosion)
Gas cylinder
Example of hazard statement:

Contains gas under pressure; may explode when heated

Example of precautionary statement:

Store in a well-ventilated place. Keep cool

Replaces:

New! No equivalent hazard symbol in previous general use

Health hazard (Risk of sensitization, carcinogenicity)
Health hazard
Example of hazard statement:

May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled

Example of precautionary statement:

In case of inadequate ventilation, wear respiratory protection

Replaces:

Previous cross ("X") hazard symbol for "harmful"

Exclamation mark (Risk of harm)
Exclamation mark (risk of harm)
Example of hazard statement:

Harmful if swallowed
May cause and allergic skin reaction

Example of precautionary statement:

Do not eat, drink, or smoke when using this product
Do not get in eyes, on skin, or on clothing

Replaces:

Previous cross ("X") hazard symbol for "harmful"

Skull and crossbones (Risk of toxicity, carcinogenicity)
Skull and crossbones (risk of toxicity)
Example of hazard statement:

Toxic if swallowed

Example of precautionary statement:

IF SWALLOWED: Immediately call a POISON CENTER or a doctor

Replaces:

Previous similar hazard symbol for "toxic"

Corrosion (Risk of chemical burn)
Corrosion (risk of chemical burn)
Example of hazard statement:

Causes severe skin burns and eye damage

Example of precautionary statement:

Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection

Replaces:

Previous similar hazard symbol for "caustic"

Flame (Flammable, Risk of fire)
Flame (risk of fire)
Example of hazard statement:

Flammable liquid and vapor

Example of precautionary statement:

Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces. No smoking

Replaces:

Previous similar hazard symbol for "flammable"

Flame over circle (Risk of combustion
Flame over circle (risk of combustion)
Example of hazard statement:

May intensify fire; oxidizer

Example of precautionary statement:

Take any precaution to avoid mixing with combustibles

Replaces:

Previous similar hazard symbol for "oxidizer"

Exploding bomb (Risk of explosion)
Exploding bomb (risk of explosion)
Example of hazard statement:

Heating may cause an explosion

Example of precautionary statement:

Explosion risk in case of fire

Replaces:

Previous similar hazard symbol for "explosive"

Environment (Hazardous to aquatic life)
Environment (hazardous to aquatic life)
Example of hazard statement:

Toxic to aquatic life, with long-lasting effects

Example of precautionary statement:

Avoid release to the environment

Replaces:

Previous similar hazard symbol for "harmful to environment"