Mexico Regulatory Updates – October 2015

Posted on: November 2, 2015

by Edgar Rodriguez Sierra


Since the 2011 publication of the voluntary GHS standard, NMX-R-019-SCFI-2011, the 2011 authorization of an alternate GHS Safety Data Sheet, and the 2014 authorization of an alternate GHS chemical identification and classification under NOM-018-STPS-2003, the national and international chemical industries have been awaiting for the promulgation of a mandatory workplace GHS standard in Mexico. The speculation was that any mandatory standard would be enacted in the same manner as the Brazilian implementation, under the mandates of an existing workplace standard.

The expert’s speculation was confirmed when, on October 9, 2015, NOM-018-STPS-2015, The Harmonized Identification and Hazard Communication and Risk System of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals, was published under the GHS 5th Revision of the UN Purple Book. Under Mexican regulatory infrastructure, NOMs are mandatory standards in the national territory. NOM-018-STPS-2015 is partially equivalent to NMX-R-019-SCFI-2011 and the 5th Revision of the UN Purple Book.

Some of the update highlights related to this standard are:

  • There is a 3-year implementation transition period. This NOM will become effective on October 9, 2015. During the transition period, manufacturers and/or importers can still use NOM-018-STPS-2000 and its 2014 update. Once the NOM becomes effective in 2018, the 2000 version will be repealed along with the 2003 and 2014 updates.  The NOM does not mention repealing NMX-R-019-SCFI-2011, which is the current voluntary GHS Standard.
  • There are five Appendices:
    • A – Health and Physical Hazard Communication Elements
    • B – Health and Physical Hazard Pictograms
    • C – Health and Physical Hazards, Hazard Statements, H Phrases
    • D – Health and Physical Hazards, Precautionary Statements, P Phrases
    • E – SDS Authoring Instructions
    • Guide I – (Not Mandatory) PPE Letters and Symbols
    • Guide II – (Not Mandatory) Training Questioner
  • A black border pictogram, when used internally in the workplace, along with the black symbol and white background, can substitute for the red border pictogram.
  • Workplace markings and SDSs should include the classification of hazardous substances and mixtures, according to the established criteria in NMX-R-019-SCFI-2011 or its subsequent replacement or any later version of the third revision of the UN GHS Purple Book.
  • According to Chapter 2 of this Standard, the requirements of this NOM do not apply to the following finished products: pharmaceutical, food additives, cosmetic articles, pesticide residual in food and hazardous waste. It also does not apply to cleaning products sold in supermarkets, as well as, caustic soda or hydrochloric acid for cleaning, nor paints or insecticides for home use, although, for these, COFEPRIS (the national sanitary agency) does require use of the GHS label.
  • Mexican regulatory experts believe that the Chapter 2 requirement exception is directed to CANIPEC (The Chamber and Association of the Industry of Personal Care and Home Care) for personal care products that may have a risk category. CANIPEC seeks to implement another model of labeling for Latin America under the CASIC (The Latin-American Industry Council for Cosmetics, Personal Care and Home Care) initiative.


On May 2, 2015, the Mexican Ministry of Health published the Mexican official standard, “NOM-004-SSA1-2013 – Environmental Health. Sanitary Specifications and Limitations for Use of Lead Compounds.” This standard establishes limits and specific sanitary requirements for national and/or imported products containing lead as a compound without chemical changes and/or processes to prevent harmful effects to human health. Part of the included sanitary requirements under NOM-004-SSA1-2013, is compliance to the Sanitary Labelling Specifications of NOM-003-SSA1-2006 for paints, inks, varnishes, lacquers and enamels containing lead and lead compounds.

NOM-003-SSA1-2006 was published on August 4, 2008 and is a mandatory standard for all legal entities manufacturing or importing paints, inks, varnishes, lacquers and enamels.


Voluntary GHS standard, NMX-R-019-SCFI-2011 –

NOM-018-STPS-2015 –




NOM-004-SSA1-2013 – Environmental Health. Sanitary Specifications and Limitations for Use of Lead Compounds:

Sanitary Labelling Specifications of NOM-003-SSA1-2006 for Paints, Inks, Varnishes, Lacquers and Enamels:


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