How to protect CBI/ trade secret under EU CLP, China GHS, US HCS and other local GHS regulations

Confidential business information (CBI) and trade secret should be very important and could not be disclosed during hazardous communication by SDS and label, especially the new substance information and exact ingredient concentration.

Substance generic name and/or a more widely concentration range are commonly adopted by enterprises to protect their CBI. Actually, EU CLP, China GHS, US HCS and other local GHS regulations have their owner requirements and guidance on CBI protection. A summary has been listed as follows for reference.

EU CLP: Hiding composition info: A request for the use of an alternative chemical name shall be submitted to ECHA and approved by ECHA;

China:For trade secret ingredients, the exact substance names and CAS numbers can be hidden. However, hazards shall be fully disclosed.

Taiwan: Chemicals with certain hazard classifications are not allowed to be withheld. Name, concentration of hazardous chemicals or suppliers’ names can be protected as secret after a written document is submitted to authority and an approval is obtained. 

Korea: Substance name, CAS or content can be hidden. Hazards must be fully disclosed.

Japan: The generic name may be printed in cases where component information concerning chemical substances other than the designated chemical substance relates to trade secrets, etc., and it has been determined that there is no health or safety dangers to the recipient or environmental concerns if the component name is written as a generic name (including abbreviations, symbols, numbers, etc.).

US: Under the US’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS 2012), a manufacturer may provide an ingredient concentration range on its safety data sheet (SDS) in lieu of an exact concentration. However, it must include a statement that the exact concentration has been withheld as a trade secret.

Canada: must file a claim of exemption

Malaysia: Supplier may omit information on the name of a hazardous chemical or the composition and ingredients of a hazardous. Generic names can be used. The concentration ranges as below or a narrower range is applicable: <1%; 1 to 3%; 3 to 5%; 5 to 10%; 10 to 30%; 30 to 60%; >60%

Australia: Use of generic name for a hazardous ingredient only accepted in certain cases (moderate hazard category and no occupational exposure limit established); If the exact concentration of an ingredient is confidential, the concentration of the ingredient can be disclosed using the following range or narrower range: <10%, 10-30%, 30%-60%, >60%;

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Other differences between GHS Regulations of different Countries/regions

  • Enforcement time
  • Languages requirements
  • SDS Author certifications
  • Building block and Classification
  • Confidential business information (CBI)
  • 24h emergency number
  • Local importer information required
  • Additional information required on SDS/label
  • SDS/label updating /reviewing time settled
  • Other principles on label
  • Size of labels/simplified labels