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Taiwan’s Executive Yuan published a news article on its website on 9 November 2017 indicating that it had passed the Proposed Amendments to the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act on the same day. The Amendments will be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for further approval in the near future.
In addition to the revisions introduced under the Amendments as issued by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on 12 May 2017, the version passed by the Executive Yuan would also revise the title of the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act to the Toxic Chemical and Chemical Substances of Concern Control Act. This revision aims to reflect the newly-added concept of "Chemical Substances of Concern."
The Taiwan EPA published the proposed Amendments on 12 May 2017. The Amendments proposed to add the definition of “Chemical Substances of Concern” to the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act and impose various restrictions and administrative measures on these substances. Furthermore, additional emergency response and notification requirements would be imposed on facilities handling toxic chemicals in Taiwan.
Specifically, the following revisions would be introduced to the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act (the Act):
• Chemical Substances of Concern would be introduced under the Act. "Chemical Substances of Concern" are defined as chemical substances that have a major impact on consumer protection domestically and internationally and have been proven as detrimental to the environment or human health. Endocrine disrupting chemicals would also fall under this scope. Specific Chemical Substances of Concern would be designated by the Environmental Protection Administration.
• Various administrative measures would be imposed on Chemical Substances of Concern. For instance, facilities that manufacture, import, export, sell, transport, use, store, or dispose of Chemical Substances of Concern ("Facilities Handling Chemical Substances of Concern") would be required to obtain a permit from the environmental authorities prior to conducting these activities. Recording-keeping, labeling, and material safety datasheet-related requirements would also be imposed on Facilities Handling Chemical Substances of Concern. Requirements for emergency response plans and reporting requirements in case of accidents would be applicable to these facilities as well, provided that the concentration of concerned chemicals exceeds the threshold levels prescribed by the authorities.
• Facilities that manufacture, import, export, sell, transport, use, store, or dispose of toxic chemicals designated by the Environmental Protection Administration would be required to appoint an employee dedicated to managing emergency response-related matters. This employee must attend training courses offered by training institutes designated by the authorities.
• A Chemical Substance Management Fund would be established by the Environmental Protection Administration. Facilities that handle toxic chemicals would need to contribute to this fund. Detailed information on the specific fees and the amount thereof would be prescribed by the authorities.
• A whistle-blower protection clause would also be provided under the Act.
Companies that manufacture, import, export, sell, transport, use, store, or dispose of toxic chemicals in Taiwan might soon be subject to more stringent requirements for these activities, as the Amendments to the Toxic Chemical Substances Control Act proposed by the Taiwan EPA have been passed in the Executive Yuan. The Amendments will now be sent to the Legislative Yuan for further approval.
Once adopted, the Amendments would introduce the concept of "Chemical Substances of Concern" to the Toxic Chemical Substance Control Act. In addition, a number of requirements, such as emergency response and a whistle-blower protection clause, would be introduced. Affected parties are recommended to pay close attention to the legislative activities regarding the proposed Amendments.