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NEA newsletter-202403

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

Japan Intends to Ban PFOA isomers, their salts and PFOA-related Compounds
On February 1, 2024, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and Ministry of Environment (MoE) jointly issued a proposal regarding the designation of PFOA isomers, their salts and PFOA-related compounds as Class I Specified Chemical Substances controlled under the Chemical Substance Control Law (CSCL).
Proposal is as follows:

  1. PFOA isomers, their salts and PFOA-related compounds, including perfluorooctyl iodide (CAS No.: 507-63-1) and 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (CAS No.: 678-39-7), are designated as Class I Specified Chemical Substances under the Chemical Substance Control Law (CSCL)
  2. Prohibits the manufacture and import of PFOA isomers, their salts and PFOA-related compounds from the winter of 2024;
  3. Prohibits the import of designated products containing PFOA isomers, their salts and PFOA-related compounds
  4. Prohibits the use of PFOA isomers, their salts and PFOA-related compounds for applications other than approved (essential) uses;
  5. Establishes technical standards for the handling of specified products that use these Class I Specified Chemical Substances (point 4 to proposal);
Consultations on the proposal will last for a month, Comments are accepted until March 1, 2024.

U.S. States Intend to Legislate for PFAS in 'More uses than ever' This Year
On January 8, 2024, Safer States reported an analysis of U.S. states' expected legislation for toxic chemicals and plastics in 2024. New analysis suggests that PFAS as "forever chemicals" could be banned for more uses than ever before by 2024. Policymakers in 36 U.S. States will consider more than 450 bills involving toxic chemicals in 2024. In addition, at least 35 states will commit to addressing the PFAS crisis ranging from restricting uses, protecting water, finding resources to clean up, and holding polluters accountable. The analysis further finds that states are moving beyond restricting PFAS in one sector, such as food packaging, toward a broader range of applications and sectors. It is expected that more and more states will pro-pose broader PFAS restrictions than ever before.

ECHA Adds Five SVHC to the Candidate List
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced on 23 January 2024 that it has updated its Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) in line with the REACH regulation. Five new chemicals have been added in this update, bringing the current Candidate List from 235 to 240. The first substance is 2,4,6-tri-tert-butylphenol, which is toxic to reproduction, persistent and bio-accumulative; The second substance is 2-(dimethylamino)-2-[(4-methylphenyl)methyl]-1-[4-(morpholino-4-yl)phenyl]butyl-1-one, which is toxic to reproduction; The other three substances are Bumetrizole (UV-326), oligomerization and alkylation reaction products of 2-phenylpropene and phenol, and 2-(2H-benzotriazole-2-yl)-4-(1,1,3,3-tetramethylbutyl)phenol, all of which have strong persistence and bioaccumulation; They are used in inks and toners, adhesives and sealants, and washing and cleaning products. In addition, ECHA has expanded the classification of one existing entry for dibutyl phthalate (DBP) to include its endocrine-disrupting properties to the environment.

EU REACH Annex XVII proposed to control UV absorber 3039
On January 19, 2024, France proposed the inclusion of UV absorber 3039 in REACH Annex XVII, restricting the placing on the market of mixtures containing such substance. The technical files are expected to be submitted to ECHA on January 10, 2025.The UV absorber 3039, also known as Octocrilene (CAS No.: 6197-30-4) is under assessment as Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT list). Octocrilene has a wide range of applications. Due to its UV-absorbing properties, it is particularly used as a UV absorber in long-life materials with low release rates, such as flooring, furniture, toys, leather products, paper and cardboard products, electronic equipment and materials such as plastics, coatings, dyes, etc.
Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China (CNCA) Adjusts China RoHS Conformity Assessment Test Standards
On January 25, 2024, the CNCA issued a notice to adjust the test standards for the conformity assessment system for the restricted use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products from GB/T 26125 to GB/T 39560.1GB/T 39560.2GB/T 39560.301GB/T 39560.4GB/T 39560.5GB/T 39560.6GB/T 39560.701GB/T 39560.702 series standards. Specifically, from March 1, 2024 onwards, the testing methods of conformity assessment activities for the restricted use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products shall be implemented in accordance with GB/T 39560 series standards. If the conformity assessment is completed in accordance with GB/T 26125 before March 1, 2024, the standard conversion shall be completed smoothly by measures like expired certificate renewal or change of products. Products that are shipped and imported before March 1, 2024 do not require conversion of standards.

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