Cut-Off Levels For Hazardous Ingredients In GHS: Korea vs US

According to GHS guidelines, hazardous ingredients in a mixture must be listed in an SDS under Section 3 (Composition/information on ingredients) if they are present above specified cut-off levels. However, these cut-off levels vary from country to country. This post highlights the key differences in cut-off levels between Korea and the United States.

Korea GHS information was compiled from a presentation given by Mr. Yunbo Shi at the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication Fall Meeting 2013 in Virginia (“Overview of The Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (K-REACH) and Korea GHS”), while U.S. GHS information was gathered from the OSHA publication “GHS – OSHA HCS Comparison – Comparison of Hazard Communication Requirements”.

The table below displays cut-off levels for selected hazards in Korea GHS and U.S. GHS. While the cut-off values for carcinogenicity and mutagenicity (Category 1) are the same in both countries, the key differences are in respiratory sensitization and reproductive toxicity. Korea GHS demands a stricter standard for respiratory sensitizers, setting the cut-off at ≥ 0.2%, as opposed to ≥ 1% in the U.S. However, disclosure standards are less stringent for reproductive toxicity, with the Korean cut-off at ≥ 0.3% versus ≥ 0.1% in the U.S.

Cut-off levels for selected hazards in Korea GHS and U.S. GHS:

Hazard ClassKorea GHS Cut-OffU.S. GHS Cut-Off
Carcinogenicity≥ 0.1%≥ 0.1%
Mutagenicity (Category 1)≥ 0.1%≥ 0.1%
Respiratory sensitization≥ 0.2%≥ 1%
Reproductive toxicity≥ 0.3%≥ 0.1%


Thus, while the GHS was meant to be a harmonized global system for hazard communication, differences in the standards adopted from country to country mean that chemical manufacturers and suppliers need to be aware of these deviations, as illustrated by this post.

Make sure your SDS authoring provider or SDS authors are aware of these subtle and critical differences if you want to be in compliance worldwide with GHS.