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Selected tag(s): China

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

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Posted in Health Policy, International / Tagged | Comments are closed

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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One solid step for REACH, one giant leap for chemicals policy

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

While efforts to improve U.S. chemical safety legislation have been at, shall we say, a stand-still for the past few months, our European counterparts have been buzzing with activity.  U.S. NGOs, industry, regulators and lawmakers should be paying really close attention to all that buzz as they deliberate the shape of U.S. chemicals policy in the new Congress.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is currently in the thick of processing registrations received by the first major deadline under REACH, the European Union’s chemicals regulation for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals.  November 30, 2010 was the first of three deadlines for registering existing chemicals (termed “phase-in substances” under REACH); it applied to the highest-volume and most hazardous chemicals on the market.  Some 4,700 new and existing chemicals have now been registered under REACH since it took effect in mid-2008, including about 3,500 existing chemicals subject to that first deadline based on high volume or toxicity.

In contrast to Las Vegas, what is happening in Europe is not staying in Europe.  That alone makes it worth paying attention to.  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.

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Adding a hammer to TSCA’s tool belt: Clear deadlines and, yes, hammers to ensure they’re met, are essential to TSCA reform

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

For decades, the American chemical industry has produced and used chemicals virtually without condition, due to the laissez-faire approach embodied in TSCA.  The consequence?  Tens of thousands of chemicals are in everyday use with little health and environmental data, let alone evidence of their safety.  This has led to a crisis in confidence among commercial buyers, users and sellers of chemicals and products made using chemicals – not to mention consumers, state and local government and the general public.

Meaningful TSCA reform must address these problems, by not only systematically subjecting chemicals on the market to data requirements and safety determinations – but also ensuring all this is done in an efficient and timely manner.

That’s where hammers come in.  Read More »

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Hitting ’em where it hurts: BPA reduces sperm quantity and quality in male workers

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

As reported by Rob Stein in the Washington Post this morning, a NIOSH-funded study of male Chinese workers conducted by researchers at Kaiser-Permanente in Oakland, California has found that exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) significantly increases the incidence of low sperm counts and concentrations, as well as lowered sperm motility and higher mortality.

The 5-year study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Fertility and Sterility (that’s a title only slightly more cheery than the CDC’s publication Morbidity and Mortality!), shows that the same kinds of adverse effects of BPA on sperm already observed in animal studies also occur in humans with detectable levels of BPA in their urine.

And while the most pronounced effects were observed in highly exposed workers, the authors of the study note:

Similar dose-response associations were observed among participants with only environmental BPA exposure at levels comparable to men in the general United States population.

Despite a markedly reduced sample size in this group of men exposed only to low environmental BPA sources, the inverse correlation between increased urine BPA level and decreased sperm concentration and total sperm count remain statistically significant.

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