Asian countries seek information exchange for chem inventory laws

30 March 2010 22:28  [Source: ICIS news]

BALTIMORE, Maryland (ICIS news)--Several Asian countries are establishing chemical inventory and notification laws as a result of information exchange programmes from the Asia-Pacific region, panelists told the Global Chemical Regulations Conference on Tuesday.

Taiwan is in the process of establishing a National Existing Chemical Substance Inventory (NECSI), which it will follow up with a new substances notification (NSN) scheme, Mark Grenda, a regulatory affairs specialist for US-based Afton Chemical, said at the conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Taiwanese Safety and Health Technology Center, which is implementing the law, is collecting information on chemical substances used in the country by domestic manufacturers and exporters through 31 December.

Under the law, companies must nominate their substances for inclusion via an existing chemical notification process and must also provide contact details for a local representative in Taiwan, Grenda explained.

Once the centre has collected all of the chemical nominations, it intends to compile an inventory of submissions during 2011, but the process could take longer, Grenda said.

Taiwan would then initiate the notification scheme for companies to submit any chemicals used in the country afterward. The nation would reopen the inventory for substances imported while inventory is compiled.

The inventory is intended to cover all substances manufactured, imported or used in Taiwan from 1 January 1993 to 31 December 2010. Companies are not required to submit documentation unless requested.

James Cox, a specialist in product regulatory clearance and compliance at Eastman Chemical, said that Malaysia was not far behind in the development of an environmental hazardous substance (EHS) notification and registration scheme.

Likely to start in 2011, the EHS classification would identify substances of concern and provide information for Malaysian authorities to spark decisions on how to manage those substances, prioritising them for further risk assessment.

The Malaysia Department of Environment, which is managing the effort, has yet to finalise regulations but has committed to providing a two-month notice before the law takes effect.

Malaysia plans to phase in chemical registration based on the volume a company has produced or imported within the nation. Companies would report substances of more than 100,000 kg/year (100 tonnes/year) in 2011 and 2012; 10,000-100,000 kg/year in 2013 and 2014; 1,000-10,000 kg/year in 2015 and 2016; and finally 100-1,000 kg/year in 2017.

Representatives from the international team of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that several nations agreed to enhanced cooperation on sharing chemical information and building the capacity to regulate chemicals during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) chemical dialogue meeting on 1-2 March in Japan.

The EPA's Heather Page, who oversaw the US-sponsored APEC workshop, said nearly 100 participants from the 21 APEC member nations shared concerns on conducting risk assessments, assessing chemical hazards, and collaborating with stakeholders in industry and government.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which was among four intergovernmental organisations to participate, also unveiled a risk assessment toolkit for analysis of chemical risks to human health, available through its website.

The US will host the next meeting of APEC in February 2011 in Washington, DC.

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By: Mickey McCarter
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