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Editor's Note: This article was previously published but has now been updated and improved.
The Vietnamese Center for Chemical Data and Response (CECHEDAR), a department under the Vietnam Chemicals Agency and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), published a notification on the release of the National Chemical Database System, establishing operation of the official National Chemical Database (Database). The Database, which currently contains 170,645 substances, will be used to serve various functions, according the government’s announcement. Currently, the Database contains chemicals from:
- Foreign chemical inventories recognized by Vietnamese competent state agencies, and
- The latest version (i.e. third draft) of the draft National Chemical Inventory (Draft NCI or Inventory).
The National Chemical Database is different from the National Chemical Inventory; the Database contains chemicals from several sources including the Draft NCI. The National Chemical Database is now active, while the Inventory is still in a "draft" state and is yet to be finalized.
National Chemical Database System
The government has launched the National Chemical Database System through http://chemicaldata.gov.vn/. The Database consists of the following regulated chemical lists in Vietnam:
- Chemicals from the Draft “National Chemical Inventory” (NCI) – which currently contains 31,745 substances.
This Inventory lists the chemicals that are actually produced, imported and commercialized in Vietnam, based on three years of research by the Vietnam Chemicals Agency which was conducted from 2016 to 2018 (according to the third draft Inventory published in June 2018). This means when a user searches for chemicals in the database with the criteria "chi tìm kiếm các sản phẩn hóa học” or “Draft NCI,” the database will limit the results to chemicals listed in the current version of the Draft NCI, which is still a work in progress.
- Chemicals from foreign chemical inventories recognized by Vietnamese competent state agencies.
Under to Point 6, Article 4, of the Vietnam Chemicals Law, No. 06/2007/QH12: a “new chemical is defined as a chemical that is not yet listed in the Vietnam National Inventory nor in foreign chemical inventories recognized by Vietnam competent state agencies.” It means that, for the time being, new chemical registration is only required for chemicals that cannot be found in the Database of 170,654 chemicals.
As of 31 July 2018, the National Chemical Database (Database) is officially in operation, with the following main functions:
- Support administrative procedures related to chemical management in accordance with the law;
- Share chemical management information between the Department of Chemicals and other departments under the Ministry of Industry and Trade;
- Synthesize and process statistical data for chemical risk assessment and other management needs;
- Share information with businesses and communities related to hazardous properties and the classification of chemicals; and
- Prepare data to support the provision of information in response to chemical incidents.
The database consists of a list of searchable chemicals in a database which includes the substance name (local and English) and other relevant information such as: substance code; case number; and laws, regulations and chemical lists in which the substances are regulated, per Annex 1-5 of Decree 113/2017, as well as information regarding the GHS classification for each substance (if any). It also provides information linked to: the Draft Vietnamese National Chemical Inventory, Japan's Inventory of Existing and New Chemical Substances (ENCS), the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the European Inventory of Existing Commercial Chemical Substances (EINECS). Other information also includes current Vietnamese chemical management information such as a list of laws and regulations (downloadable), list of reference documents, and chemical safety information. Users will be able to use this database to either see the complete substance list or to look up the specific substance by using the search field. Note that certain features are still in draft stage at present, and it is only available in Vietnamese, and not very user friendly.
The notification 211/TB-BCT, dated 2 August 2018, was announced on the Vietnam Chemical Agency’s website. The National Chemical Database was implemented under the Prime Minister's Decision No. 768 / QD-TTg, dated 22 June 2012, which approved the plan to compile a national chemical inventory and a national chemical database. The current national chemical management system is regulated by the major laws on chemicals, such as Decree 113/2017/ND-CP dated 9 October 2017, Detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on chemicals, as well as other relevant regulations. The new database will be maintained in accordance with the requirements of the scheme as well as the existing chemical management laws.
National Chemical Inventory
The National Chemical Database contains chemical information, including, but not limited to, chemicals listed on the National Chemical Inventory. Under Article 55, point 1 and 2 of the Law on Chemical No.06 /2007/ QH12, “The Government shall formulate and promulgate a national chemical inventory and a national chemical database and both must be formulated and modernized in conformity with international practice and be publicized and regularly updated.”
Currently, the Inventory is still in a work in progress, meaning that it is not yet finalized; the fourth draft is expected to be published in late 2018. On the other hand, the National Chemical Database is now in operation and will be used to support the above-mentioned purposes. It is also still in the draft stage and should be updated regularly.
On 14 September 2018, Vietnam Chemicals Agency announced a brief window for the public to add chemicals to the National Chemical Inventory. The government announced that they will accept from enterprises any additional chemical substances commercialized in the Vietnamese market but not yet included in the draft NCI. This period only lasts until 15 October 2018. The chemicals notified during this period will be added to the draft NCI.
For more details on this news, 3E Monitor subscribers may review the following article: Vietnam Opens Brief Window to Add Chemicals to National Database.
Businesses must understand that the “Inventory” and the “Database” are different. The government is currently working to formulate and modernize both, following the legal mandate. As of now, Vietnam is still in the process of establishing a National Chemical Inventory; the chemicals on this Inventory are one source of information which is included in the National Chemical Database. Companies should ensure that their substances which are produced, imported or commercialized in Vietnam are on this Inventory and if not, should notify the government by 15 October 2018 to include the chemical/s.