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Swiss Poison Class


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A Swiss Poison Class rating appears on some European Material Safety Data Sheets issued before August 1, 2005. The classes number from 1 to 5 with 1 being the most toxic.

Additional Info

The Swiss Poison Regulation 813.01 was put into force in 1983 and has been amended/updated several times. On August 1, 2005, Switzerland adopted the EU chemical regulations and began transition to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. See the Federal Office of Public Health (Bundesamt für Gesundheit - Cheminfo) for more information.

The purposes of the law were to prevent the poisoning of humans and animals, better educate manufacturers and users about the dangers, and encourage the use of less dangerous substances.

The rating scale reflected acute oral lethal doses (usually in rats). The rating scale was:

ClassLethal Dose (mg/kg)
10 to 5
1S0 to 5; also teratogenic or carcinogenic
25 to 50
350 to 500
4500 to 2000
52000 to 5000
5S2000 to 5000; an unrestricted self-service product

The classification process also took into account sensitization, irritation and chronic toxicity of the poison.

Switzerland formerly maintained three separate poison lists which cover approximately 176,00 chemicals and products. Do not confuse the list number with the Class number!

  1. List 1 contained approximately 10,000 poisonous chemical materials
  2. List 2 contained poisonous public products.
  3. List 3 contained poisonous commercial products.

skull and crossbones

Special remarks could be included for each list item, providing information about labeling and marking, precautionary measures, transportation, prohibited usage, and physical warning signals (odor, color etc.).

Items in classes 1 and 2 had to be labeled with a skull and crossbones symbol and the word Poison ("Gifte" in German). The labels had to have a black "poison volume" (?). Class 3 had to be be yellow; classes 4 and 5 had to be red.

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SDS Relevance

This number appears on outdated Material Safety Data Sheets meant for the European market and is obsolete. If your current MSDS references a Swiss Poison Class, it is likely out of date and you should obtain a new SDS from the manufacturer. If you can not find a new sheet, then keep in mind that the lower the number (1-5), the more dangerous the material. One can search the Information System for Dangerous and Ecologically Relevant Substances (IGS) to determine the poison class. See the last link below under Further Reading.

Swiss Poison Class regulations were superceded by the EU's adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). See the Federal Office of Public Health (Bundesamt für Gesundheit - Cheminfo) for more information.

Further Reading

See also: CHIP, European requirements for MSDS format.

Additional definitions for metric system from Google and OneLook.

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