South Korea Publishes Classification and Labelling Guide of Mixtures

Aug. 08th, 2022

The NIER provides numerous examples in the Guide to further facilitate enterprises\’ understanding of the classification and labelling methods.

On June 30, 2022, South Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) issued the Guide for Classification and Labeling of Mixtures (NIER-GP2022-027, hereinafter referred to as the Guide), which aims to help stakeholders to better comply with obligations under K-REACH and K-CCA. In addition to the Guide, a leaflet illustrating rules and methods of classification and labelling with various examples was issued as well.

South Korea has implemented GHS for both substances and mixtures since 1 July 2013. Below are two main standards supporting the GHS implementation in South Korea, including:

However, the standards are very technical and complicated. Thus, this 180+page Guide is prepared based on NIER Announcement No.2021-104 and EU CLP, aiming to help enterprises easily address the issues regarding classification and labeling requirements for mixtures. It consists of 7 chapters and 5 appendixes, mainly covering the following content:

  • General principles for the classification and labeling of mixtures
  • Methods for classifying physical hazards of mixtures
  • Methods for classifying health hazards of mixtures
  • Methods for classifying environmental hazards of mixtures
  • Methods for preparing and attaching labels of mixtures

Main Points Regarding Classification in the Guide

Building blocks except for the Flammable Liquids Category 4 and Acute Toxicity Category 5, classification criteria (e.g., concentration limits) and labeling elements (including pictogram, signal word, hazard statement, precautionary statement, etc.) applied in the Guide are the same as the MoEL Notification No.2020-130.

Notably, the NIER under South Korea’s Ministry of Environment (MoE) has set out the cut-off values for some hazard classes (see Table 1). Cut-off values are the minimum concentrations for an ingredient which trigger the classification of a mixture if exceeded by the individual concentration or the sum of concentrations of relevant ingredients. Normally, if an ingredient presents in a concentration below the corresponding cut-off value, it will not be considered as an ingredient contributes to the hazards of the mixture, except the case where the data shows that the ingredient at lower cut-off values still poses an identifiable hazard.

Table 1 – Cut-off Values for Each Hazard Class

Hazard class Cut-off value
Acute toxicity (Category 1~3) 0.1%
Acute toxicity (Category 4) 1%
Skin corrosion/Irritation 1%
Serious et damage/eye irritation 1%
Acute aquatic toxicity (Category 1) 0.1%
Chronic aquatic toxicity (Category 1) 0.1%
Chronic aquatic toxicity (Category 2~4) 1%

South Korea’s Ministry of Employment and Labor (MoEL) hasn’t specified cut-off values in the MOEL Notification No. 2020-130. It only provides the concentration limits (see the screenshot of Appendix 6 of the MoEL Notification No.2020-130) for ingredients disclosure in MSDS Section 3.

Screenshot of Appendix 6 of the MoEL Notification No.2020-130

Main Points Regarding Labelling in the Guide

Compared with the MoEL Notification No.2020-130, the NIER further prescribes the following requirements for the labeling:

  1. For single substances, chemical name and CAS number shall be disclosed on the label; for mixtures, product name (or the name of the mixture) and hazardous ingredients information (name of hazardous substance and the concentration (%)) shall be disclosed on the label. Below is the example.
  2. The precedence of pictograms for physical hazards should follow the UN Recommendation on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations, i.e., explosives, flammable gases, aerosols, oxidizing gases, gases under pressure, self-reactive substances and mixtures, flammable liquids/solids, organic peroxides.
  3. Requirements for the label used on the package:If the outer packaging (box) can be used as transport packaging:

    *Transport markings and labels are required for outer packaging – only transport pictograms, product name and UN number are required. If so, the GHS hazard pictograms covered by the equivalent transport pictograms can be omitted.

    *The labelling on the inner packaging illustrating GHS information should be consistent with that on the single packaging.

    An example is provided below.

    If the outer packaging (box) cannot be used as transport packaging:

    *The labeling on the outer packaging (box) and inner packaging should be consistent with that on the single packaging.

    An example is provided below.

  4. Labelling requirements for storage facilities or storage places:*The size of the words such as “유해화학물질 (hazardous substances)” should be more than 65% of each text box.

    *The text box of product name should be with white background, black border and red font , and the words stating manager’s name and the emergency phone number in another text box should be in black.

    *Labels should be affixed to the conspicuous positions, i.e., the entrances of the storage places, and the surfaces of the storage facilities.

  5.  Labeling requirements for transport vehicles (including freight containers, tank truckers, etc.):
    Capacity of the transport vehicle Size of the transport pictogram
    ≥ 4 tons Equal to or more than 12 cm2
    1 ton~ 4 tons Equal to or more than 20 cm2


    *In addition, for transport vehicles with capacity exceeding 1 ton but less than 1.5 tons, if the physical space is insufficient, the size of transport label can follow the rules for vehicles with capacity with capacity less than 1 ton.

    *For hazardous substances exported to overseas or imported to South Korea, transport pictograms can be affixed with reference to the UN Recommendation on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations rather than relevant requirements in the Guide

Reprinted from: ChemLinked

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