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News On Worldwide Regulations Affecting Manganese

JANUARY – JULY 2011

ASIA (China, Japan, S. Korea & India)

On the 19th Jan 2010, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of China published a new REACH-like regulation called “Measures on Environmental Administration of New Chemical Substances".  It came into force on 15 Oct 2010 and focused exclusively on new chemicals, meaning chemicals not yet on the Inventory of existing chemical substances produced or imported into China.  Manganese and Manganese-based substances are not considered “new”. However, since 2010, China has been actively reviewing its existing chemical regulations and on the 11th of March 2011, the State Council of China published a revised version of its “Regulations on Safe Management of Hazardous Chemicals”. In the revised regulations, there is the possibility that existing chemicals might also be subject to registration if they are considered hazardous.

The Global Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification & Labelling of chemicals was implemented in Japan on December 1, 2006. The regulation, driven by the Industrial Safety and Health Law (ISHL) specified different classification and labelling (C&L) deadlines. The C&L deadline for mixtures/preparations containing <1% of any substance in the harmful substances inventory (totalling 640 substances) was January 1, 2011.  Mn and Mn based substances are not part of the specified 640 substances. Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) specified the requirements for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) to be compliant with the GHS earlier this year. This affects the Mn and Mn-based substances considered as hazardous.

 

North America (Mexico, Canada, USA)

There has been no news on the regulatory front from Health Canada or the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since the beginning of the year. However, EPA is currently carrying out collaborative research on manganese air levels and its health effects.

On  June 4, 2011, Mexico became the first North American country to adopt legislation that allows companies to use the UN Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labelling, on a voluntary basis. By implementing the GHS companies will not only be complying with the existing mandatory legislation for C&L and safety data sheets in the workplace, but also meeting the GHS requirements of countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. The new legislation was introduced at the request of the National Association for the Chemical Industry in Mexico. 

 

European Union (All 27 countries)

In the first quarter of 2011, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) published information from the submitted registration dossiers on the internet via what they call a dissemination portal.  Several guidance documents also have been published. Of interest to the Mn industry is the guidance on Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for alloys/special preparations. The legal text governing REACH is currently under review; ECHA has invited registrants and potential registrants to send in proposed amendments.

The EU GHS (Global Harmonized System of Classification & Labelling) called the Classification Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation is currently being reviewed by member states and stakeholders. The review is focused on the inorganic/metal environmental classification aspect of this regulation.

 

Other Europe (Turkey, Switzerland)

Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry implemented a REACH-like regulation called the “Regulation on Inventory and Control of Chemicals”, which came into force in December 2009 and was amended on the 23rd of May 2010. With a scope similar to EU REACH and with data requirements following a tiered approach, the first deadline of 31st March, 2011 (deadline for the substances that are manufactured or imported prior to January 1, 2010) although extended, met many manufacturers and importers unprepared.

Switzerland, on February 1, 2009 moved toward REACH implementation with the partial revision of the Swiss Chemicals Ordinance (ChemO, RS 813.11), but only for new substances placed on the Swiss market in quantities over 1m tonnes/year. No changes to this regulation this year.

 

Africa (South Africa, Nigeria….)

In March 2011 Enhesa, a regulatory consultancy firm in Belgium, organised a webinar on the explosion of EHS regulations throughout Africa. It revealed that countries such as Botswana and Kenya lack regulations and enforcement, while Ghana and Morocco have regulations but little enforcement. South Africa has the strongest regulation and enforcement capabilities amongst African countries; Algeria and Nigeria are not far behind. 

The webinar also highlighted the major trends in the environmental, health and safety and products areas and concluded that countries in Africa will continue to take the first steps to implement GHS. Economic growth will continue throughout Africa providing opportunities for companies to expand and move operations into Africa. A company can expect African countries to strengthen EHS regulatory frameworks, which will differ from the typical U.S. and European approach.

 

Australia

All manufacturers and importers of chemicals for commercial purposes must register with the National Industrial Chemicals Notification Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) regardless of the tonnage. In Australia there is also a system of notification of industrial chemicals. However, for a substance to be eligible for registration or notification, it should not be listed in the Australian Inventory Chemical Substances (AICS).  Mn and Mn-based substances are not listed in the inventory mainly because they are not yet considered as chemicals in Australia. However, In January 2011 this regulation was adjusted to incorporate nanomaterials which could include Mn and Mn-based substances if they meet the definition of nanoparticles.

In May 2011, ECHA met with NICNAS and signed a memorandum of a shared commitment to improve chemical safety. The aim is to strengthen the scientific dialogue between the European Union and Australia and to increase co-operation on technical matters and other issues of common interest, including the hazards and emerging risks of chemical substances, risk management tools, scientific collaboration and information exchange.