Thanks to a recent article in Afrique en ligne we learn of The Gambia’s commitment to GHS. The piece intrigued me because there are less than two million people in The Gambia and it is only about twice the size of Delaware, according to a government site run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Here’s my point: if a country that small in the west of Africa gets it, then how long can it be before this voluntary program sponsored by the United Nations gets adopted everywhere? Not familiar with GHS? The… system, which was called “Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)”, addresses classification of chemicals by types of hazard and proposes harmonized hazard communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets. That’s from UNECE, which is the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
In The Gambia, by the way, they also get the economic importance of chemicals. But at the same time, they understand the implications to human health and the environment if chemical products are not handled and labeled properly.
Featured in the article is Alhagie Momodou Canteh, Director and Coordinator of Technical Services Network (DSTN) at the Gambian National Environment Agency (NEA). The story notes: According to him, one important tool for addressing the need for safe chemicals management is the GHS of classification and labeling of chemicals… He said the GHS had the ultimate goal of ensuring that information on chemical hazard was made available to workers and consumers in a harmonized and comprehensible format (on label and Safety Data Sheets) in countries around the world… “Classification is the starting point for the GHS. Once a chemical has been classified, the hazard(s) must be communicated to target audience. The main tools of chemical hazard communication are labels and safety data sheets (SDS) that contain the hazard information in the form of hazard pictograms, signal words and other communication elements,” he said.
You can see the full text of the article here. More about The Gambia courtesy of the CIA is here. And much more about GHS, courtesy of UNECE, is here. And, to get started on a GHS compliant labeling solution, go to http://www.loftware.com/