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On 20 March 2018, Korea’s Ministry of Environment (MoE) announced the adoption of amendments to the Act on Registration, Evaluation and etc. of Chemicals (K-REACH), along with the enactment of the Act on Safety Management of Consumer Chemical Products and Biocides (K-BPR).
K-BPR applies to biocides used in preservatives and anti-bacterial treatments of products, and to household chemical products subject to safety checks.
Key tenets of the new K-BPR are as follows:
- Approval is required for biocidal substances and authorization is required for biocidal products;
- It is required to clearly indicate on the label of the product certain information such as: the list of biocidal materials, how to use the product, and the risk associated with use;
- The safety management system for consumer chemical products which are processed with biocidal substances has been strengthened; and
- It is prohibited to use misleading labeling or advertisements such as ‘non-toxic’ or ‘environmentally friendly’ on consumer chemical products.
Korea’s MoE also announced that a major amendment to K-REACH will be enacted along with K-BPR.
The major changes brought by the amendments to K-REACH are as follows:
- Revised management system for "existing chemicals" by requiring the registration of all existing chemical substances over 1 ton per year;
- It is required to register the chemical hazard information of carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reproductively toxic (CMR) substances in amounts more than 1,000 tons per year by 2021, 100 tons per year by 2024, 10 tons per year by 2027, and 1 tons by 2030;
- A pre-registration system is introduced which will facilitate the joint registration of companies that manufacture or import existing chemical substances;
- Strengthened designation of priority controlled substances containing highly hazardous chemicals including CMR substances;
- It is required to provide information such as chemical name, use, content, hazard information, and exposure information regardless of registration status or quantity; and
- Penalties are imposed for the manufacture, importation, or sale of chemicals without registration which cause any harm to human health or the environment.
Entry into force
Both the K-REACH amendment and the K-BPR enactment will enter into force on 1 January 2019.
According to the new K-BPR, manufacturers or importers of biocidal materials and products are required to obtain approval from the Ministry of Environment by preparing hazard and risk assessments of the concerned substances. Every three years, manufacturers and importers of household chemical products subject to safety checks will be required to evaluate that their products are compliant, and must report the results to the MoE.
Under the amended K-REACH, manufacturers and importers of chemical substances are required to comply with the pre-registration system for existing chemical substances, as well as the strengthened controls on highly hazardous substances. Penalties will be strictly imposed for failure to comply with the amendment. Business operators must comply with the first registration deadline by the end of 2021.