Know The Substances Hazardous To Water For Your German SDS

For Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for Germany, you must be aware of the very important and country-specific WGK (Water German Klasse) regulation required in Section 15 of your SDSs.

In Germany, installations, such as warehouses, that handle chemical substances constituting a hazard to water are required to be built and operated in such a manner that no contamination of waters, or any other detrimental change in their properties, can occur.

To ensure this, substances used in such installations must be tested and classified for their water-hazardous properties. In Germany, the classification into Water Hazard Classes (WHK) is carried out on the basis of the Administrative Regulation on the Classification of Substances hazardous to waters (VwVwS). This is a classification in addition to, and based on, EU CLP regulations. For products transported to or in Germany, the WGK classification must appear in Section 15 of the SDS. The classification scheme will be explained below.

All substances listed in Annex 2 of the WGK Regulation are hazardous to water. The substances hazardous to water are classified into the following water hazard classes:

WGK 1 = low water hazard
WGK 2 = water hazard
WGK 3 = high water hazard

The classification of substances into water hazard classes is carried out according to the EU CLP H phrases scheme. The basis is the hazard phrases assigned according to legislation, and these are considered for WGK classification through evaluation points allocated to each hazard phrase.

 

Default values

If, for a given substance, no proof of testing for certain toxic characteristics and for certain environmental impacts is available, and if the substance has not been classified into one of the H-Phrases in Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH), Annex II, as amended by Regulation (EU) No. 453/2010, the substance shall be assigned the following point values as default values:

a) The default value shall be 5 points if a substance has not been classified into the H-Phrases 302, 312, 301, 311, 310 or 300, either alone or in combination, and if no proof is available of testing for acute toxicity for a rodent species upon swallowing and in contact with skin.

b) The default value shall be 6 points if a substance has not been classified into the H-Phrases 400, 410, 411 or 412, and if no proof is available of testing for acute toxicity for a fish species and a water-flea species, and for inhibition of algae growth.

c) The default value shall be 8 point if all of b) conditions apply and also if testing for ready biodegradability has shown that the substance is not readily biodegradable or the substance is potentially bioaccumulative or no proof of testing for biodegradability is available or no proof of testing for potential bioaccumulation is available.

d) The default value shall be 3 points if a substance has not been classified into the H-Phrases 410, 411, 412 or 413 and no proof of testing for is available and the substance is potentially bioaccumulative or is not readily or inherently biodegradable.

e) The default value shall be 4 points if no proof of testing for biodegradability is available and the acute toxicity data for a fish species (96 h LC50) or a water-flea species (48 h EC50) or for inhibition of algae growth (72 h IC50) is more than 10 mg/l and not more than 100 mg/l.

f) The default value shall be 6 points if no proof of testing for ready biodegradability or bioaccumulation is available and the acute toxicity data for a fish species (96 h LC50) or a water-flea species (48 h EC50) or for inhibition of algae growth (72 h IC50) is more than 1 mg/l and less than 10 mg/l.

g) The default value shall be 2 points if the substance is classified H-Phrase 400 and if no proof of testing for ready biodegradability or bioaccumulation is available.

 

The following WGK classifications are assigned for the point values:

  • 0-4 points: WGK 1
  • 5-8 points: WGK 2
  • 9 and more points: WGK 3

 

Mixtures

The classification of mixtures into water hazard classes follows either the computation rule with the water hazard class of its components or is based on test data obtained from the mixture.

Mixtures are non-hazardous to waters if they fulfill the following prerequisites:

a) Their content of WGK 1 components is less than 3% mass share.

b) Their content of WGK 2 and 3 components is less than 0.2% mass share.

c) Contain WGK 3 components that do not include carcinogenic components or components of unknown identity.

d) They do not contain any dispersants.

 

Blog post kindly provided by KMK Regulatory Services, Inc.