Cebu Stakeholders Take on GHS Chemical Hazards and Proper Labeling System

November 2012, Cebu City
.  A significant step towards global efforts on appropriate chemical
management has gained momentum as over 80 individuals from several local groups
throughout the province of Cebu took part in an awareness-raising training about
chemical hazard classification and proper labeling systems.
EcoWaste Coalition, in partnership with the Board of Investments (BOI), a
government agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, and
the Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC), has organized a training seminar on
the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of
Chemicals at the University of Cebu, Banilad Campus in Cebu City.
GHS is a novel
internationally-established framework for communicating chemical hazard information,
integrating harmonized chemical hazard classification measures and provisions
for standardized labels and safety data sheets.
from the academe, civic and religious groups, labor and peasant associations,
small and medium enterprises, government institutions, civil society
organizations and the youth came from various cities and municipalities in Cebu.
workshop aims to inform the public about the physical, health and environmental
hazards of chemicals, thereby acquainting them about the GHS and its relevance
to our daily lives,” said Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, EcoWaste Coalition’s
Steering Committee member based in Cebu.
countries have already set chemical regulatory systems like GHS and it is our
humble desire to assist the concerned agencies in crafting a national
implementation scheme for GHS, which is also aligned with the objectives of EcoWaste
Coalition’s advocacies on chemical safety and environmental health,” she added.
to the Official Website of the Cebu Provincial Government, Cebu “is the second
largest city and is the fastest growing economy in the Philippines as it leads
the country in exporting items such as furniture, fashion accessories,
carrageenan and gifts, toys and housewares.”
Cebu is “the most accessible place in the Philippines, with more domestic air
and sea linkages than Manila as it is base to over 80 percent of inter-island
shipping capacity in the Philippines,” as stated in the provincial website.
As such, the
implementation of GHS will be beneficial to the economic stability and growth
in the province as it will reduce health care costs, enhance workers’
protection and lower the possibilities of chemical accidents and emergencies.
industries will also benefit in terms of efficiency as costs of enforcement and
compliance with hazard communication regulations will be greatly reduced as the
need for duplicative testing of chemicals on export products will be avoided.
Products made in Cebu will also get a boost not only in the national but also
in the international market as GHS labeling will improve corporate image and
Nelia Granadillos, chief of the Environmental Control Division of the
Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City, mentioned in her
presentation that “the GHS offers information about the hazards of chemicals in
order to aid the consumers in determining suitable safety precautions needed in
handling these chemicals.”
compatible GHS includes distinguishable chemical hazard classification, user-friendly
labeling system, and instructive hazard information on labels and safety data
sheets,” she said.
Under the
standardized scheme for chemical labeling, a GHS label includes a symbol or pictogram,
signal word (for example: “danger,” “warning”) and hazard statement (e.g.
“fatal if swallowed,” “toxic if swallowed,” “harmful if swallowed,” “may be
harmful if swallowed”). 
Other important
GHS label information includes the product identifier, supplier identification
and the relevant precautionary statement/s.  
hazardous chemicals, such as pure substances as well as dilute solutions and
mixtures, are covered by the GHS.
The Cebu
City workshop organized by the EcoWaste Coalition, just like the one held
in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija last November 8, and the succeeding one to be held
in Quezon City on November 28 are financed by the United Nations Institute for
Training and Research (UNITAR) under the BOI-UNITAR GHS Project.

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