Top International News in Chemical Policy and Regulation - from F to T
France Notifies EC Of Ban On Microplastics And Cotton Buds With Plastic Stems: France has notified the EC that it will ban “rinse-off cosmetic products for exfoliation or cleaning that contain solid plastic particles” from January 1, 2018. The Decree on microplastics provides definitions for “[c]osmetic product,” “[r]inse-off cosmetic,” “[e]xfoliation,” “[p]article,” and “[s]olid plastic particles.” The Decree states “[e]xception is made for particles of natural origin not liable to persist in the environment, release active chemical or biological ingredients thereinto, or affect animal food chains.” France also notified the EC that it will ban from January 1, 2020, cotton buds for domestic use that have plastic stems. The French Decree on cotton buds defines “[p]lastic” and “placing on the market.”
The Decrees identify “natural or legal persons placing on the market free of charge or in return for payment” the relevant products as the groups concerned. Both Decrees were issued pursuant to Article 124 of Act No 2016-1087 on the Restoration of Biodiversity, Nature and the Countryside.
OSH Amendments Would Prevent Companies From Changing The Brand Names Of Chemicals: On September 6, 2016, the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) issued a preliminary announcement in English of amendments to the occupational safety and health (OSH) enforcement regulations and the rules on OSH standards. Under the current enforcement regulations, to protect information on a new chemical, an employer may request that the substance be announced publicly under its brand name. Earlier this year, Reckitt Benckiser publicly apologized for being one of several companies to sell humidifier sterilizer products that caused lung disease and deaths in South Korea. According to the preliminary announcement, during a Parliamentary investigation of the humidifier sterilizer products, it was noted that if an employer changes the brand name of a chemical after the public announcement, employers, workers, consumers, and even government agencies cannot check the changed brand name against the list of substances published. The preliminary announcement states: “To address this problem, employers will be prevented from arbitrarily changing the name of a chemical into any name other than the announced one and required to use generic names that can be cross checked when notifying the Ministry of Environment of new chemicals.” The amendment to the enforcement regulations will also require chemicals’ brand names and Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers to be announced publicly again once the information protection period has expired.
Temporary Regulations Will Create New Bureau On Toxic Substances And Chemical Regulation, Executive Yuan Approves Proposal: On October 5, 2016, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (Taiwan EPA) promulgated temporary regulations to create a new bureau on toxic substances and chemical regulation by January 1, 2017. The bureau’s duties will include forming, implementing, and enforcing policies on chemical substance regulation, toxic substance regulation, chemical accidents and emergency response, and environmental agent regulation. The bureau will also promote the integration and use of chemical information; technological advances related to toxic chemical regulation; and international cooperation on chemical substance regulation. According to Taiwan EPA Vice Minister Chan Shun-kuei, the current legislative session will first review and approve the budget for the central government before passing significant new legislation. To submit the 2017 budget for the new bureau for legislative review, Taiwan EPA first needed to promulgate temporary regulations. Chan stated that the temporary regulations will be in effect only until the legislature approves a draft law for the bureau and the law is signed by President Tsai. On November 3, 2016, the Executive Yuan approved a draft bill, Organization Rules of the Bureau for Toxics and Chemical Substances, which would establish the bureau. On November 30, 2016, the bill passed the Legislative Yuan’s Judicial and Legal Affairs Committee in its first reading. According to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu, Co-Convenor of the Committee, the bill should soon be listed on the legislative agenda for its second reading and final passage in a third reading.
Deadline Approaches To Nominate Chemicals To Preliminary Inventory Of Existing Chemicals: As reported in The Acta Group (Acta®) November 18, 2016, memorandum, “Deadline Approaches to Nominate Chemicals to Thailand’s Inventory of Existing Chemicals,” the first stage nomination deadline for chemicals not listed on the preliminary inventory of existing chemicals (Preliminary of Thailand Existing Chemicals Inventory) is December 31, 2016. The nomination of additional substances can be electronically accomplished through a portal maintained by Department of Industrial Works (DIW) or through direct consultation with DIW. DIW expects to publish a final Thailand Existing Chemicals Inventory in 2017. Chemicals not listed on the final Existing Chemicals Inventory would be considered new chemicals. More information is available, in Thai, on DIW’s website.
Turkey Adopts Toy Safety Regulation: Turkey has announced that it will implement a “Safety of Toys Implementing Regulation” starting April 4, 2017. The Regulation replaces the existing law from 2013 and mirrors the EU`s Toy Safety Directive. The Regulation aligns the number of controlled metals and their maximum limits with the permissible levels in the EU and does not apply to the following:
- Playground equipment intended for public use;
- Automatic playing machines, whether coin operated or not, intended for public use;
- Toy vehicles equipped with combustion engines;
- Toy steam engines; and
- Slings and catapults.
The Regulation also lists in Annex I products that are not considered toys according to the Regulation. The Annex I list includes “[p]uzzles with more than 500 pieces,” “[d]ecorative objects for festivities and celebrations,” and “[s]cooters and other means of transport designed for sport or which are intended to be used for travel on public roads or public pathways.”
The Regulation places obligations on manufacturers, importers, distributors, and authorized representatives. Under the Regulation, 19 metals are restricted in toys and permissible limits are reduced for metals already restricted under Turkey’s previous regulatory framework for toy safety.
The Regulation prohibits substances or mixtures classified as CMR, except in certain situations. Additionally, the Regulation lists 55 allergenic fragrances that “[t]oys shall not contain.” Among the listed allergenic fragrances are Benzyl cyanide, Diethyl maleate, and Dihydrocoumarin.
Regarding “Hygiene,” the Regulation states “[t]oys must be designed and manufactured in such a way as to meet hygiene and cleanliness requirements in order to avoid any risk of infection, sickness or contamination … A toy intended for use by children under 36 months must be designed and manufactured in such a way that it can be cleaned. A textile toy shall be washable, except if it contains a mechanism that may be damaged if soak washed.”