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NEA newsletter-202102

Latest Progress in Environmental Protection Laws and Regulations, Product Recall Case, and Experts Q&A

The EU proposed to revise its batteries regulation
On December 10, 2020, the EU issued a new draft batteries regulation to repeal the current EU Batteries Directive (2006/66/EC), thus will change its batteries control requirements from 'Directive' to 'Regulation'. The draft regulation reclassifies batteries into portable batteries, automotive batteries, electric vehicle batteries and industrial batteries. New requirements are put forward for the sustainability and safety of batteries, including mandatory requirements for hazardous substances, carbon footprint, recycled content, performance and durability requirements, removability, replaceability and safety. Besides, the draft also sets targets and requirements for labelling and information, waste management, electronic exchange of information and etc. This draft regulation is expected to apply from January 1, 2022, except the extension of several provisions under the current Batteries Directive should be repealed as of July 1, 2023. The draft now is receiving public comments and the consultation period will end on March 1, 2021.

US EPA imposes partial bans on five PBTs
In December 2020, as required under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the US Environment Protection Agency issued final rules to reduce the exposures of US citizens to five persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substances. The five chemicals are decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE), phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), 2,4,6-Tris(tert-butyl)phenol (2,4,6-TTBP), hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) and pentachlorothiophenol (PCTP). These chemicals will accumulate in the environment over time and have potential risks. The final rules prohibit the use of these five substances in specific circumstances and specify the effective date of the relevant prohibition.

OEHHA will restrict the abuse of CP 65 short-form warning label

On January 8, 2021, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Amendments to Article 6, Clear and Reasonable Warnings Short-form Warnings in California Proposition 65 (CP 65). Previously, OEHHA has found the abuse of short-form warnings in ways that were not intended and do not further the purposes of Proposition 65. The notice intends to restrict the conditions for the application of short-form warning label. It shall only be used if the total surface area of the product label available for consumer information is 5 square inches or less, and the package shape or size cannot accommodate the full-length warning, and at least one chemical name must be included into short form label. Short-form warning can no longer be provided on internet or catalogue purchases even though short-form warning is used on the product. Besides, the notice clarifies how the labels can be used for food products. The OEHHA proposes that relevant amendments shall become operative one year after they come into effect. Public consultation has been launched on the amendments, and the consultation period will end on March 8, 2021.

New York State regulates PFAS substances in certain food packaging

On December 2, 2020, the governor of New York State signed into Law S8817 (companion A4739-C) to prohibit intentionally added perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS substances) in certain food packaging. According to the new law, food packaging is defined as a package or packaging component that is intended for direct food contact and is mainly comprised of paper, paperboard, or other materials originally derived from plant fibres, while intentionally added chemical means a chemical in a product that serves an intended function in the product component. PFAS substances are a diverse family of synthetic chemicals that are used in the manufacture of everyday products with anti-stain, water, grease, oil and/or dirt properties, which are classified as persistent organic pollutants. The act will restrict the use of PFAS substances in food packaging as defined, and shall come into effective on December 31, 2022.

Over five million notifications to the SCIP database have been submitted
From January 5, 2021, companies have had to submit SVHC substance information in the SCIP database based on the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC and its amendment directive (EU) 2018/851. According to official statistics from European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the SCIP database has received more than 5 million notifications up until January 11, 2021. ECHA is expected to publish these notification data on its website in the coming months and will further develop its capabilities. The increased transparency on chemicals of concern will help consumers make more informed choices and improve waste operators' recycling processes. SGS recommends enterprises to investigate the SVHCs in articles in advance, and meet with EU’s latest requirements.

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