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March 8, 2013

Materials from Successful B&C and CPDA Workshop to Explore Agricultural Product Challenges with GHS

The ACTA Group

On February 28, 2013, the Council of Producers & Distributors of Agrotechnology (CPDA) and Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C) jointly sponsored a workshop on Global Harmonization System (GHS) labeling requirements for agricultural chemicals. The workshop featured speakers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Department of Transportation (DOT), and Lynn L. Bergeson, and explored OSHA’s final rule modifying its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the GHS for chemicals, which was published in the March 26, 2012, Federal Register.

Lynn L. Bergeson walked attendees through the major modifications to the standard, including:

  • Revised criteria for classification of chemical hazards;
  • Revised labeling provisions that include requirements for use of standardized signal words, pictograms, hazard statements, and precautionary statements;
  • A specified format for Safety Data Sheets (SDS);
  • Related revisions to definitions of terms used in the standard;
  • Requirements for employee training on labels and SDSs; and
  • Potential conflict between HCS/GHS and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) labeling.

Bergeson focused on the thorny questions that have arisen, and will continue to arise, in connection with harmonizing GHS label requirements with federal FIFRA requirements and a wide variety of state rules and label instructions.

Kathy Landkrohn, OSHA Directorate of Standards and Guidance, provided an overview of the changes to the HCS to conform with GHS. Landkrohn also discussed fact sheets and other guidance documents that OSHA has prepared and is making available online. Kristen Hendricks from EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) explained EPA/OPP Pesticide Registration (PR) Notice 2012-1, and clarified how to characterize FIFRA hazard information on OSHA SDSs for pesticide products to avoid potential misbranding.

Shane Kelley, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, DOT, addressed how the HCS and FIFRA requirements dovetail with DOT requirements. Finally, Erik Johansen, Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Johnnie Roberts, Helena Chemical Company, addressed the challenges that manufacturers of products registered at the state but not federal level, such as adjuvants and FIFRA Section 25(b) pesticides, may face, as PR Notice 2012-1 does not apply to these products.

On a related note, and importantly, the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials (AAPCO) State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) Pesticide Operations and Management (POM) Committee intends to address OSHA GHS and potential effects on FIFRA labeling at its upcoming semi-annual meeting on April 22-23, 2013, according to the agenda published on March 6, 2013 (78 Fed. Reg. 14537). This meeting presents an excellent opportunity for stakeholders to raise these issues and start to identify ways for agricultural stakeholders to find quick and efficient solutions to the lack of alignment among FIFRA, GHS, and state labeling requirements.

For copies of these presentations, and the two EPA documents discussed at the workshop, please contact