Taiwan Conducts Public Hearing Session on Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act (TCSCA) Draft Amendment

On 7 June 2017, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau conducted a public hearing session on the draft amendment of the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act (TCSCA). The discussion was focused mainly on the potential introduction of a new category of chemical substances, known as “Chemical Substances of Concern” as well as the management and control of this category of substances. What is new? Due to the growing number of chemical substances, the toxicity information on the current Category 4 chemical substances remains insufficient. Consequently, the Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau proposed a “4+1 Strategy”, which means, in addition to the existing four categories of toxic chemicals listed in TCSCA, one new category, “Chemical Substances of Concern,” will be introduced. This decision highlights the difference from its original plan which aimed to fully replace the Category 4 toxic chemical substances with the new category of chemical substances. What does it mean? “Chemical Substances of Concern” are defined as chemical substances which: draw domestic and international attention on human well-being; possess the characteristics of endocrine disruptors; or proven by scientific reports, are able to cause environmental pollution and/or endanger human’s health; and officially announced by the central authorities. This category of chemical substances includes chemicals which are explosive, corrosive or possess food safety risk in addition to those with toxic properties. What is the gap identified? Questions were raised over the ambiguous definition of the new category of chemical substances. The definition overlaps with that of Category 4 and exceeds the scope of definition for “toxic chemicals.” It was recommended that the name and definition of the new category of chemical substances be improved and clarified. What is proposed? The Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau proposed several strategies to improve the management of chemical substances: strengthening the operation of Chemical Substances of Concern and registered chemical substances; building the National Chemical Substances Management Advisory Council to facilitate interdepartmental communication; establishing a management fund for chemical substances; enhancing the environmental accidents contingency counselling system; introducing “Informant terms.” What to expect? TCSCA is anticipated to be revised in large-scale. Some of the targeted outcomes include: expanded management of “Chemical Substances of Concern;” strengthened control and inspection by the responsible authority; improved cross-agency coordination; implementation of the user payment principle. The effective date of the final TCSCA amendment is still unknown. The Toxic and Chemical Substances Bureau promised that the management of chemical substances will become more simplified and integrated after the TCSCA revision.

ChemAdvisor, 21 June 2017 ;https://www.chemadvisor.com ;