logo

NEWS

NEWS

HomeNewsRisk Management of Chemicals in China
CONTACT US
TOPSEN BIOTECH CO., LTD.
86-755-82327107
86-755-82327106
86-755-82327105
86-755-82322950
agrochem@topsencn.com
Ms. Alice Zhang

Risk Management of Chemicals in China

China has one of the largest chemical industries and markets in the world, making chemical safety a crucial issue for both the industry and the government. According to statistics, there have been 232 chemical accidents from January to August 2016, averaging 29 accidents per month, almost one accident every day. This figure reflects the grim situation China faces in the area of chemical risk management. At REACH24H’s Chemical Regulatory Annual Conference (CRAC 2016) which concluded in Shanghai on Sep 21st, Ms. Jinye Sun from the Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center of Ministry of Environmental Protection (SCC-MEP) gave a speech, elaborating the practical problems in chemical risk management from MEP’s point of view and revealed MEP’s future actions. Environmental protection relies heavily on prevention of pollution and reduction of risk. However, current policies focus on the management of pollution rather than preventing the pollution in the first place. In terms of long term and cumulative environmental risks, the government still lacks systematic prevention methods. Compared with other countries and regions which have advanced experience in chemical risk management such as European Union (REACH), United States (Toxic Substances Control Act, TSCA), Japan (Chemical Substances Control Law, CSCL) and South Korea (K-REACH and Chemical Control Act, CCA), it’s not difficult to conclude the basic reasons for China’s lack of ability to prevent pollution. In China there are no significant overarching regulations with strong legal standing that require the test and evaluation of hazardous chemicals throughout their lifecycle. It’s not fair to say that China doesn’t have any regulations controlling toxic and hazardous chemicals, but there are major shortcomings in its current legislative and regulatory framework particularly in the following aspects: The import and export registration of chemicals: it only requires registration, with no controlling measures. So it functions more as a data gathering method. New chemicals registration lacks adequate follow-up supervision and management Hazardous chemicals management: this is supposed to be the most specific and effective area of management, but still many loopholes exist in the regulation. Besides, many local environmental protection authorities lack law enforcement abilities, both in technical methods and human resources. Pollutants control: the control on pollutants has just started in China and only covers a few pollutants. For example, VOC control has just become a hot topic. At the same time, there are still many water and solid pollutants that aren’t controlled by specific regulations. These are the four main chemical management systems that China currently implements. Ms. Sun admitted the problems MEP faces in each area. Ms. Sun also voiced concerns about the lack of interaction and cooperation between the environmental protection authorities and the work safety administration authorities. Redundancy and overlap in certain areas and lack of supervision in other areas is a common problem that needs to be solved before sound and efficient chemical management is realized in China. The two authorities need to work on a coordinated management system together. For future strategy, Ms. Sun mentioned that MEP planned to improve the control of long term and cumulative environmental risks focusing on 3 aspects: the control of hazardous chemicals, the control of hazardous wastes and risk control in environmental medium. She also gave a timeline about MEP’s future movements. MEP has already started to collect and gather basic data of hazards and exposure information of hazardous chemicals. MEP Order 22 was an attempt to gather data and information and assess the risks of hazardous chemicals. However, it has already been terminated due to a shift in overall policy and regulatory direction. MEP hasn’t disclosed many details about the current information gathering progress but has promised to dynamically update the List of Chemicals to be Phased Out and Restricted, the List of Chemicals with Priority Control and the List of Chemicals of High Concern. According to the timeline Ms. Sun revealed, MEP will establish a preliminary environmental management system in five years’ time, referring to the experiences of other countries and regions. The key elements of this system consist of pollutants discharge license, environmental impact assessment (please see ChemLinked report on the relation between pollutants discharge license and environmental impact assessment), information transparency, environmental monitoring, supervision and other measures. This preliminary system is supposed to lower the environmental risks posed by some of the very hazardous chemicals. By 2030 MEP plans to have the system fully finished, implemented and optimized, realizing a comprehensive prevention and control system which restrains the known risks posed by basically all toxic and hazardous chemicals. China’s environmental protection authorities never stop exploring the most beneficial ways to protect the environment and have been particularly active in recent months, most notably realizing the abolishment of MEP Order 22, finalizing legislations on VOCs control, preparation of Environmental Protection Tax, reforms on environmental impact assessment, etc. Ms. Sun described a lot of broad ideas and plans but cautioned that there was still a lot of practical work to do for MEP in order to realize its vision of a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly China.
Copyright © 2012 Topsen Biotech Co., Ltd.    Contact us | Site Map