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2021-05-24

NEA newsletter-202105

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

Belgium published new decree on food contact metals and alloys
On March 15, 2021, the Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment published Royal Decree 2021/40623 to regulate food contact metals and alloys. The new Decree: (1) applies to coated and uncoated food contact metals and alloy materials and articles in their final state; (2) Requires tests to be conducted using the worst foreseeable condition and in accordance with known national or European test methods on food contact metals and alloys; (3) Adopts the specific release limits (SRLs) from Council of Europe Resolution CM/Res (2013) 9 ‘Metals and Alloys Used in food Contact Materials and Articles – A Practical Guide for Manufacturers and Regulators’ by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & Healthcare (EDQM). Besides, the requirement of a declaration of conformity is also stated in Chapter 2 of the Annex of this Royal Decree.

Germany proposes to regulate MOAH in food-contacting paper and paperboard
On March 22, 2021, the World Trade Organization (WTO) published a draft regulation of Germany for the restriction of Mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) in food-contacting paper and paperboard under the Consumer Goods Ordinance of Germany (Bedarfsgegenständeverordnung, BedGgstV). The draft regulation provides the definition of waste paper pulp, functional barriers and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), in which MOAH refers to alkylated aromatic hydrocarbons with carbon numbers C16-C35 and contains one or more cyclic structures (except diisopropylnaphthalenes) ; allowing the use of recycled paper in the production of food-contacting paper, paperboard or cardboard materials, and articles, with the premise that the functional barrier is able to ensure the MOAH migration level is within the defined limits. It also provides a 2-year transition period for products that are in compliant before the amendment. The bill will come into effect 3 years after publication.

Canada plans further VOC emissions reductions from consumer and commercial products
In March 2021, Canada published the ‘Renewal of the Federal Agenda on the Reduction of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions from Consumer and Commercial Products for the 2021 to 2028 period: discussion paper’, aiming to improve air quality. The Canadian government has planned to further reduce VOC emissions from consumer and commercial products over the next eight years. The action drives the manufacturer of coatings, automotive refinishers, and industrial sealants to reformulate their products. In addition, the Canadian government is working on lowering the limits of VOC for more than 100 types of consumer products. The consultation period for this discussion paper has ended on April 8, 2021. Comments received during the consultation period will be reviewed and considered for the elaboration of the final draft of the Federal Agenda and the corresponding actions in the future.

Major EU enforcement project targets restricted substances in consumer products
On March 24, 2021, The Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement decided the focus of the major enforcement project REF-10 in 2022, to be consumer products. The enforcement project includes: (1) the checking of compliance of new restriction entries of REACH Annex XVII. For example, the restriction of Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper in Entry 66 and the restrictions on 33 CMR substances in textiles in Entry 72, etc.; (2) the checking of compliance of products with restrictions under the POPs Regulation, such as PFOA in water repellent textiles or ski waxes, or short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) in soft plastic articles; (3) the reviewing of implementation of the SVHC obligations for Article – Communication and Notification; and (4) the checking of compliance of electronic and electrical products (EEEs) and toys with RoHS Directive and Toy Safety Directive. The list of enforcement items of REF-10 on the regulations is still under development, which will include, but not limited to, the above requirements. The preparation stage of the project will be finished in 2021, with inspections conducted in 2022 and the report to be published in 2023.

OEHHA initiated a public consultation on four PFAS for potential Prop 65 listing
On March 26, 2021, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) started the public consultation on four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their salts, i.e., perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA). The four PFAS substances will be evaluated by the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) for their potential reproductive toxicity, so as to determine whether to list them under the Prop 65 list. Besides, the DARTIC will also evaluate whether to add a description of carcinogenic for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and its salt and precursors . Previously, PFOS has been included in the Prop 65 list as a reproductive toxicant. OEHHA is now accepting public comments, and the consultation period will be ended on May 10.

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