New Zealand EPA Updates Their Hazardous Substance Classification System to Implement GHS Revision 7

Posted on: November 17, 2020

by Lily Hou, PhD, CHMM

In October 2020, New Zealand adopted the seventh revised edition of the Globally Harmonised System (GHS 7) with an effective date of April 30, 2021.

hazardous chemical label - New Zealand EPA Updates Their Hazardous Substance Classification SystemImplementation of GHS 7

New Zealand EPA is making the following changes to implement the GHS 7:

  • Issued the Hazardous Substances (Hazard Classification) Notice 2020 to convert New Zealand’s unique numbering classification system for hazardous chemicals to GHS hazard classes and categories;
  • Amended the Hazardous Substances (Safety Data Sheets) Notice 2017 and Hazardous Substances (Labelling) Notice 2017 to adopt the new hazard classification system set out in the Hazardous Substances (Hazard Classification) Notice 2020;
  • Released 207 new 2020 group standards to incorporate GHS 7 classifications;
  • Revoked 209 group standards that are based on the 2001 HSNO classification system.

The new and amended Notices and group standards will come into force on April 30, 2021.

Transition Period

For hazardous substances approved before April 30, 2021, the labelling and safety data sheets have a 4 year transition period (until April 30, 2025) to comply with the new rules. For hazardous substances approved after April 30, 2021, all updated rules must be followed and the GHS 7 classification for labels and safety data sheets must be used after the approval.

Adopted Building Blocks

Hazardous Substances (Hazard Classification) Notice 2020 adopts GHS revision 7 hazard classifications with the following hazard classes or categories excluded:

  • Acute toxicity Category 5;
  • Skin corrosion/skin irritation Category 3;
  • Aspiration hazard Category 2;
  • Hazardous to the aquatic environment acute Categories 2 and 3;
  • Hazardous to the ozone layer.

The EPA also adopts the following non-GHS classifications for substances that are hazardous to the terrestrial environment:

  • Hazardous to soil organisms;
  • Hazardous to terrestrial vertebrates;
  • Hazardous to terrestrial invertebrates;
  • Designed for biocidal action.

Please note that these ecotoxicity classifications only apply to agrichemicals and some active constituents used for agrichemicals. They do not apply to all products – which constitutes a change from the previous adoption of these classifications in New Zealand.”

Recommended Actions

  • Update labels and safety data sheets by April 30, 2025 if your products are approved before April 30, 2021;
  • Follow the updated GHS Notices to prepare labels and safety data sheets for products that are approved after April 30, 2021;
  • Check if current substance approval(s) is still appropriate under the new 2020 group standards.


New Zealand’s new hazard classification system –

2020 Group Standards –

Changes to EPA notices –

Key Words

New Zealand, EPA, GHS revision 7

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