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Chemicals Policy & Science Initiative - Chemicals Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region
Chemicals Policy & Science Initiative LCSP
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Many other nations are advancing chemicals management programs, though they are not as far along as the European Union, Canada, or the US. These nations may have chemicals policy responsibilities under various global initiatives as well.

Australia

Australian chemicals regulation is known as the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). Like many other systems, the NICNAS system has stricter controls for new chemicals than for existing chemicals, and includes a method for examining priority existing chemicals.

Existing chemicals are currently being reviewed. More information on that process can be found at NICNAS.

Chemicals and plastics regulation in Australia is being reviewed by a task force set up by the Council of Australian Governments. This process is will be informed by a study from the which was asked to identify any duplicative or repetitive regulation within and across Australian government. The Commission outlined the impacts these laws had on economic, public and occupational health and safety, and the environment, and presented its findings. As a result, Australia has proposed a new governance structure for chemicals management.
More on the new governance...

For additional resources, see:

China

China has recently adopted new laws regulating chemicals use; like many current systems, they are focused on 'new chemicals', those chemicals not on a separate list of 'existing substances':

"Any chemical substance that is not listed in the Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances manufactured or imported in China (hereinafter cited as “IECSC”) that is published by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) is a new chemical substance.

Prior to the manufacture or import of a new chemical substance ... one shall undergo new chemical substance notification registration, apply for and receive a Registration Certificate for the Environmental Management of New Chemical Substances".

In 2004 an Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances Manufactured or Imported in China listed 43,588 substances.

All chemicals not on the Existing Chemical Substances list are considered new chemicals, and a dossier including safety information must be submitted to the regulator. From January 1, 2005, companies using chemicals not in IECSC will be in breach of the law, with penalties including being banned from importing new chemicals for 3 years. (Source: Ciba Regulatory Bulletin).

In 2006 China promulgated the “Management Methods for Controlling Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products Regulation” (“China RoHS”).  China RoHS provides a broad regulatory framework for substance restrictions, pre-market certifications, labeling and information disclosure requirements affecting a broad range of products and parts defined as "electronic information products" ("EIP").  More on China RoHS here...

In 2010 China expanded its Measures on Environmental Management of New Chemical Substances. The new regulations require classification of new chemicals into the following categories: general chemicals, hazardous chemicals, and chemicals of environmental concern. The regulations also require more reporting for chemicals of higher use (based on tonnage) and yearly registration of chemicals by producers and importers. Currently China uses predominantly internally sourced data and testing to categorize chemicals, unlike the EU Reach legislation it has been compared to. This has been criticized by proponents of chemical restrictions, many of whom claim that China does not have adequate resources for this research.

Japan

Chemicals regulation in Japan is focused on the Chemical Substances Control Law, which was enacted in 1973 and has been amended a number of times since.

The Japanese system is based on a division between new and existing chemicals, and focuses particular attention on those chemicals that are bioaccumulative and/or persistent:

  • New chemicals that are persistent and bioaccumulative require a wider range of toxicity studies; those that are persistent but do not bioaccumulate must be evaluated for potential long-term toxicity.
  • Persistent and bioaccumulative existing chemicals are designated as Type I monitoring substances; those that are persistent and toxic but not bioaccumulative are designated Type II or III. The regulator requires more information on the use of such chemicals, and may restrict production or use.

Further information on Japanese chemicals regulation is available from the following links:

New Zealand

The New Zealand chemicals regulatory system is described in detail on the Government's Hazardous substances web site.

In 2006 New Zealand published a policy paper, "Environmental Risk Management in New Zealand — Is There Scope to Apply a More Generic Framework?" Download the report here.

Key features include:

  • A New/Existing substances split, based on substances on the market prior to July 2, 2002.
  • A focus on substances with hazardous properties.

Singapore

The regulatory system in Singapore for hazardous substances is particularly focused on safe handling of chemicals, to avoid chemical accidents and releases of water pollutants. For more information see the Singapore government's hazardous substances control web site.


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