Category Archives: International

Public pressure gets the job done: South Korea passes new chemicals law, K-REACH

Alissa Sasso is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.

Two years ago, accidental use of a chemical in humidifiers in South Korea tragically took the lives of 18 people and captured national headlines. Nearly a year later another fatal accident occurred at a chemical plant, this time injuring thousands of people in the surrounding area as well.

Meanwhile, the South Korean National Assembly was negotiating a new comprehensive chemicals bill that some observers saw as leaning in favor of the business interests at the table. The tragedies brought the public spotlight to the issue and changed the political dynamic and policy outcome.  With the public calling for greater control over toxic chemicals, legislators reinstated many of the health-protective requirements that had been dropped due to industry pressure (Chemical Watch, subscription required). And on April 30th, 2013, the Assembly passed the “Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals”, known as “Korea REACH” or simply “K-REACH” (Chemical Watch, subscription required).  Read More »

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Despite TSCA-like law, there is movement down under on chemical safety

Alissa Sasso is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.

Australia’s chemical law, dating back to 1989, in many ways resembles the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).   Australia, however, has begun taking steps to address tens of thousands of existing chemicals at a scale that has not been taken in the U.S.  These steps come in the wake of government and stakeholder recognition that Australia’s TSCA-like approach to chemicals management is inadequate and in need of revision.  Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Onwards and upwards: South Korea and Turkey advance their REACH-like policies

Alissa Sasso is a Chemicals Policy Fellow. Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

This summer we saw a flurry of activity surrounding our own chemical safety legislation, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); international reform efforts have been just as busy. In this blog post, we’ll discuss recent developments in toxic chemicals management in South Korea and Turkey. As apparent in our recent post on new Chinese regulations, these developments are notable because of their alignment with the EU’s REACH legislation.  Read More »

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China’s strengthened chemicals program looks increasingly like REACH

Alissa Sasso is a Chemicals Policy Fellow. Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

China is on a steady path toward improved chemicals management, one that in many ways  increasingly resembles the policies of the European Union’s REACH regulation.  On July 11th, China’s State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) finalized and published its “Measures for the Administration of the Registration of Hazardous Substances,” which became effective August 1st.  The new rule applies to all existing substances in China’s Catalogue of Hazardous Chemicals and is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the primary legislation on the management of hazardous chemicals, known as Decree 591.  

The new rule, an update of the initial rule from 2002, complements earlier regulatory steps taken to address new chemicals.  A description of the major changes to the registration process, compiled by the consulting group REACH24H, is available here.  Below we’ve highlighted and provided a summary of the most significant requirements under the new Measures (and those most relevant to the U.S. chemical industry):

  • Extension to importers
  • Enhanced data requirements
  • Expansion of chemicals subject to registration

Read More »

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New Ways in the Ancient World: Japan and China advance their chemicals policies

Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow.

This isn’t the first time on this blog that we’ve observed that chemicals reform is popping up all over the world.  Whatever their strengths and shortcomings, the 1999 amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the European Union’s REACH Regulation got the ball rolling.  The momentum of chemicals reform is reaching around the globe as governments pay more attention to the risks posed by chemicals.  In this post, we will focus on recent developments in Japan and China.

Japan and China are two of the U.S.’s top competitors, so it’s noteworthy that they have not allowed themselves to fall behind in chemicals management.  Why are they expanding their chemicals regulations?  Do they know something we don’t?  Read More »

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Ripples of REACH: Chemicals policy changes in Japan, Turkey and South Korea

Allison Tracy is a Chemicals Policy Fellow. Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

The November 31st deadline for the first batch of registrations under REACH (the European Union’s Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) may have passed, but life is far from dull on the international scene of chemicals policy.  As discussed in a previous post, chemicals policy enhancements are ramping up across the globe, many of them mirroring the innovations introduced under REACH.

In this post, we’ll discuss significant advances in Japan, Turkey and South Korea that drive home the message that the ripples from REACH are ever-widening.  Read More »

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Data and safety requirements for new chemicals: China blows past the US

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

In yesterday’s post, I pointed to a number of ways in which China is taking a proactive stance on chemical safety.  I cited China because the U.S. chemical industry, when saber-rattling about what it regards as overly onerous proposals for TSCA reform, loves to chide all of us that those proposals will drive chemical production overseas to China and that innovation of new chemicals will still happen, only it will happen in China instead of the U.S.

I mentioned yesterday that China is in the process of enhancing its regulatory requirements, including making them more like the European Union’s REACH Regulation.  Well, a great article detailing China’s new requirements for new chemicals was published yesterday by Geraint Roberts in Chemical Watch’s Monthly Briefing for November (subscription required).

Those requirements – which actually took effect October 15 – include the very same elements the U.S. industry has been warning would send chemical production and innovation running to China if they were to be adopted in the U.S., including:

  • registration as well as notification requirements for all new chemicals, whatever their production volume;
  • a minimum data set, which increases with production volume;
  • a requirement for re-notification whenever production volume increases significantly or the uses of a chemical change or expand; and
  • risk assessments for all new chemicals produced or imported above one metric ton per year.

Next up for the Chinese?  Similar requirements for existing chemicals, according to the article.

So much for the chemical industry’s hand-wringing about us losing out to China. When it comes to raising the bar for chemical safety, it appears the U.S. is increasingly the odd one out.

Also posted in Health Policy| Tagged , , , | Comments closed

O Canada!

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Some time back, I promised a look at whether Canada's Chemical Management Plan provides a model for TSCA reform.  This post will provide that look.  Bottom line:  While our neighbor to the north has undertaken and accomplished a great deal over the past decade, it has done so with one hand tied behind its back.  Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, TSCA Reform| Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Responses, comments now closed

Shanghai diary

John BalbusJohn Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.

Some 216 delegates representing 26 countries converged on the largest city in China last week for the 7th meeting of the International Standards Organization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC 229) on Nanotechnologies.

In China, the turtle symbolizes cosmic order, strength, endurance and wisdom.  In the US, the turtle has come to symbolize slow progress and not keeping up with the times.  Which representation better captures what's going on in ISO's TC 229?   Maybe a little of both. Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, Nanotechnology| Tagged | Comments closed

The Nano Risk Framework Gets Ready for Shanghai

John BalbusJohn Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.

At its most recent meeting a few weeks ago, the US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the International Standards Organization (ISO) Technical Committee on Nanotechnologies approved a motion to have ISO develop a Technical Report based on the EDF-Dupont Nano Risk Framework (NRF). Or to put it another way in acronym-laden Washington-speak, the US TAG to the ANSI-accredited ISO TC229 approved a TR based on the EDF-DD NRF. Read More »

Also posted in Health Policy, Nanotechnology| Tagged , , | 1 Response, comments now closed
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