GHS – Effects upon Brazing Fillers and Fluxes


Globally Harmonised System (GHS/CLP: UN – EU)

In order to eliminate differences between the various international systems for classifying and labelling chemicals and to further raise standards in on-the-job safety, in the protection of health, environment and consumers as well as in transportation of hazardous materials, experts on initiative by the United Nations have developed a Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)


This GHS system was introduced to the EU on December 16th, 2008 with the EC directive 1272/2008 titled Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures) – (CLP). The CLP Regulation came into force across Europe on January 20th, 2009. Even though not all of the recommendations made by the UN with their GHS-system were actually adopted to the EC directive, the Commission did to a large extent follow UN recommendations.

Transitional periods

The new regulation may already be applied. The deadline for assessing substances according to the new regulations has been fixed for December 1st, 2010 and for assessing mixtures it is fixed for June 1st, 2015. Until that date, the safety data sheet must also feature the prior classification. Double classification on the label is inadmissible.


Significant innovations

  • To visualize risks and hazards, nine new hazard pictograms will replace the previous danger symbols (cf. illustration). New pictogram features are the gas cylinder, the exclamation mark, and a health hazard warning.
  • In addition to the pictograms, one of two optional signal words will refer to the potential hazard level: "Danger" or "Warning". 
  • The new hazard statements will replace the prior R-classes.
  • The new precautionary statements will replace the prior S-classes.


The 30th and 31st ATPs (Amendment to Technical Process - adaptations of directive 67/548/EEC (substances guideline)) of the council for harmonization of the legal and administrative regulations for the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures to technical progress) were incorporated in a 1st ATP of the annex VI to the CLP Regulation, which was published on September 5th, 2009. The classifications stated therein will be in effect no later than December 1st, 2010.

Effects upon brazing fillers

In this 1st ATP, the dangerous substance classification for nickel (EC No: 231-111-4) changed. As a consequence, from December 1st, 2010, powdered filler metal and brazing pastes with a nickel content of more than 10 percent by weight (wt. %) must be classified and labelled as "T" toxic.

According to annex 1 sec. of the GHS regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008, metals in compact form do not require a label if they do not present a hazard to human health by inhalation, ingestion or contact with the skin or to the aquatic environment in the form in which they are placed on the market. This applies to the hazard classification "toxic". Solid brazing alloys containing nickel do not need to be labelled as "toxic" even though they must be classified as such. However, the required information must be made available to the user in a safety data sheet.

Matters differ with the hazard category "sensitising". Here exists a risk of sensitisation if there is skin contact with the substance. As a consequence, solid brazing alloys with a Ni-content of >1 % must be labelled as irritant to skin.

Effects upon fluxes

Fluxes containing more than 5.5 wt. % boric acid (EC No: 233-139-2, 234-343-4), 6.5 wt. % disodium tetraborate pentahydrate, (EC No: 215-540-4) or 3.1 wt. % diboron trioxide (EC No: 215-125-8) from December 1st, 2010 must be classified in "the reproductive toxicant category 2" and must be labelled with the symbol "T" toxic and the R-classes R60, R61.

The German trade association for surface technology (Zentralverband Oberflächentechnik e.V.) has published an expert opinion on the effects of the new classification of boric acids (and borates), which also describes the safety measures already available and in effect for handling borates / boric acids. Implementation of these measures including exhaust extraction systems and qualified personnel reduces risks for operators to an absolute minimum.

A concluding quotation from the Gestis database: "There is no reason to fear a risk of damage to the developing embryo or foetus when MAK and BAT values are adhered to."