Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
A joint enforcement project undertaken by the Nordic countries has found hazardous substances in over one-fifth of free promotional items tested. According to the Norwegian Environment Agency, inspectors found restricted substances above the limit mostly in soft plastic gadgets – due to the presence of softeners, like DEHP and SCCPs – as well as in toys, and electrical and electronic products.
The detected items contained either restricted substances in concentrations exceeding limit values or those on the REACH candidate list of SVHCs in concentrations over 0.1%. A final report of the joint enforcement project will be published this month (May 2019).
ECHA has added six new substances to the Candidate List. All have properties that are either carcinogenic, toxic to reproduction, persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBT), endocrine disrupting, or are very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB). The Candidate List of substances of very high concern (SVHCs)forauthorisation now lists 197 substances.
The six new substances are:
• Pyrene, Phenanthrene and Fluoranthene are PAHs restricted in Germany under the GS mark, but not currently restricted under REACH ANNEX XVII with other PAHs;
• Benzo[k]fluoranthene is a PAH restricted under both the GS mark in Germany and REACH ANNEX XVII with other PAHs;
A set of predictions on key global chemical regulatory policy, including Asia & Australia, EU and Brexit, and Mexico, Central and South America and the Middle East. China introduced new or updated regulations in 2018, including the List of Priority Control Chemicals (First Batch), the List of Toxic Chemicals Strictly Restricted (2018), and National Guidance on Hazard Classification to the Aquatic Environment. Taiwan passed the amended Toxic Chemical Substance Control Act (TCSCA) on December 21, 2018. In South Korea, the amended Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (K-REACH) came into force on 1 January 2019.
- The National Law Review
- South East Asia & Indian Continent
- Korea (Democratic People's Republic)
- Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals
- National Guidance on Hazard Classification to the Aquatic Environment
- Priority Control Chemicals
- Toxic Chemical Substance Control Act
- Toxic Chemicals Strictly Restricted
EU member approved the proposal to restrict the phthalates DEHP, DBP, DIBP and BBP in articles. The four phthalates are on the REACH candidate list of SVHCs for their reprotoxic as well as endocrine disrupting properties. Under the proposal they would be restricted to a concentration equal to or below 0.1% by weight individually or in any combination in any plasticised material in articles used by consumers or those used in indoor areas. The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers now have three months to scrutinise the measure and the restriction will then be published in the EU’s Official Journal and will apply 18 months after the entry into force to products produced both in and outside of the EU.
Labor and human rights violations in Apple’s global supply chain have doubled in the span of a year, a new report has revealed. The company’s Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, released on Wednesday, detailed several “core violations” that were discovered following an audit of the working conditions of its supply chain employees across 30 countries. Apple trained more than 3 million supplier employees on their rights last year and tracked the working hours of 1.3 million people on a weekly basis.
Abuses included labor violations, the falsification of working hours, harassment and underage staff. Apple conducted 756 audits in total and its report detailed some of the violations that were considered to be “serious breaches of compliance.”
EU experts have agreed to designate bisphenol A (BPA) as a human endocrine disruptor on top of its current repro-toxic classification, paving the way for an EU phase-out of the chemical. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced that its member state committee voted unanimously to classify the compound, used in polycarbonate plastics, inks and resins, a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under the EU REACH Regulation due to its endocrine-disrupting properties.
Over the last decade, an unprecedented amount of information about chemical hazards and exposure has been collected and stored in the databases of Echa. Echa has been taking research on the substances could be confidently categorised as high priority substances with likely hazards and likely exposure during use. But there are still 3,000 substances in what the agency describes as a ‘grey zone’ where it has insufficient information to make a determination about the risks they pose.
China’s National Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently consulted on a draft list of substance restrictions in consumer products. The list combines a number of existing Chinese standards and, where no domestic standard exists, it refers to restrictions based on EU and other foreign legislation. The draft is similar to the consumer restrictions set out in REACH Annex XVII - includes 103 chemicals and proposes limit values for their use in consumer products, such as toys, textiles, coatings, paints, decoration materials and furniture.
The OECD has launched version four of its Qsar Toolbox, with some features designed specifically for companies looking to register substances under REACH ahead of the 2018 deadline. Echa head Geert Dancet used the agency's stakeholders day to remind companies planning to register substances under next year's deadline that they must pre-register their substances by 31 May this year.
Another seven toxic substances may be added to the REACH chemicals regime authorisation list under plans drawn up by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Consultation on the list, which heralds a significant expansion of annex XIV to REACH, began on 2 March. These seven substances are karanal, 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, four related phenolic benzotriazoles (UV-328, UV-327, UV-350 and UV-320) and a family of phthalic acid esters which could be used in adhesives. ECHA is seeking comment on the substances’ uses, proposed transitional arrangements, possible exemptions from authorisation and information on supply chains until 2 June. A final decision on the proposals will be taken by the European Commission.
The European Commission has published Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/227 amending Annex XVII to REACH Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006. The Regulation introduces a new restriction on the use of the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) under entry 67 of Annex XVII of REACH. This Regulation shall be effective from 02 March 2017, and the condition of the restrictions for this substance shall be accomplished by 02 March 2019. Please click here to learn more about the condition of restriction listed under entry 67 of Annex XVII of REACH.
The last REACH registration deadline will be on 31 May 2018. This deadline concerns companies that manufacture or import chemical substances in low volumes, between 1-100 tonnes per year. Practical advice on the different steps companies need to take to complete their registration is available on ECHA's website. ECHA has completed the toolkit to support companies for the 2018 registration deadline. All companies are encouraged to follow the step-by-step advice and speed up their preparations.
Researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities in the US estimated there were more than 90,000 early deaths in Indonesia in areas closest to haze-belching fires, and several thousand more in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia. The new estimate, reached using a complex analytical model by combining satellite data with models of health impacts from smoke exposure and readings from pollution monitoring stations, is far higher than the previous official death toll given by authorities of just 19 deaths in Indonesia. It triggered calls for action to tackle the “killer haze”.
Endangered Forests in the Balance : the impact of logging reaches new heights in the Montagnes Blanches endangered Forest
The Montagnes Blanches endangered forest has become a focus area for conservation organisations due to threats on its unique features by illegal logging. According to satellite data provided from 2000-2013, almost 50% of the intact forest landscape has been lost or degraded. Furthermore the species, woodland cari-bou within this forest is now being identified as threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk 2.
Greenpeace have released a briefing update document on the Montagnes Blanches Endangered Forest. Nearly 50% of the intact forest landscapes have been lost or degraded due to logging, road building, and other industrial development between 2000 -2013. The briefing document covers the recent and current forestry operations in the intact forest landscape and describes the future steps for long-term solutions in the area as well as the role customers should play in forest products.
Satellite data analysis suggests deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon may have reached a 7-year high. Imazon, a Belém-based non-profit, released data showing deforestation in the region pacing ahead of the previous year’s level for 13 months consecutively. The 12-month moving average of short-term deforestation alert data has reached levels that have not been seen since 2008. This hasn’t yet been confirmed by the Brazilian government who now report statistics quarterly for its deforestation system, but recent figures released by INPE mirror this data.
Negotiators in Bonn reached agreement on Redd+ scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation which will form part of Paris climate pact. One major issue was the protection of indigenous peoples and valuable ecosystems generated from protecting forest. In the process, tougher safeguards and transparency are necessary, and better communication and more field visits are key to the result. Also a deep base of sharing of knowledge and trust are needed to move forward.
Pulp and paper giant APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd) has been found to be violating its own sustainability policy by continuing to source fibre from peatlands in Riau, Indonesia. The investigation, from Eyes on the Forest, shows that APRIL affiliate Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) is operating in breach of APRIL’s pledge not to clear potential high conservation value (HCV) areas. Dramatic photographs released by Greenpeace-Indonesia in June clearly showed natural forest clearance on deep peat areas, and ongoing preparations to turn the land in to plantations. APRIL says this activity doesn’t violate its policy commitments and clearing is only taking place in non-HCV areas. APRIL is under mounting pressure to clean up its supply chain since its largest competitor, APP, signed a comprehensive zero deforestation policy in 2013. APP’s subsequent commitment to support conservation and restoration of forests equal in size to its own operations was also applauded by environmental groups. APRIL has since said that it will match APP on this commitment – see APRIL’s letter responding to the Greenpeace photographs in June 2014.
Liberia is to become the first African nation to stop cutting down trees in return for development aid. Liberia is the home to a significant part of West Africa’s remaining forest, with about 43% of the Upper Guinean forest, and it is also a global diversity hotspot, home to the last remaining viable populations of species. Illegal logging in Liberia stared from 2003 after the civil war ended, and some researchers have connected the outbreak of Ebola with the widespread deforestation, which brings people into contact with natural reservoir of the virus. Now Norway has reached agreement with Liberia government that Norway will help Liberia to build up the capacity to monitor and police the forests. With widespread corruption and a government struggling to impost its authority, it should be recognized that stopping all the logging in Liberia will not be easy.
Cutting down on cutting down: How Brazil became the world leader in reducing environmental degradation
A recently published paper in the journal Science assesses how Brazil managed to reduce its deforestation rates by 70% over the course of a decade and points to a three-stage process in which bans, better governance in frontier areas and consumer pressure on companies worked, if fitfully and only after several false starts. While the Brazilian Forest Code from the mid-1990s mandated that 80% of farm land had to be set aside as a forest reserve, deforestation rates reached their highest as the code was not enforced. However, from 2005 Brazil’s President Lula da Silva made halting deforestation a priority which led to better cooperation between enforcement agencies and public prosecutors. At the same time, improvements in the efficiency of cattle breeding, a fall in export earnings from soybeans and an NGO campaign to boycott Brazilian soybeans caused deforestation to plummet. Then in 2009, once soybean expansion resumed, the government focused its efforts on the counties with the worst deforestation rates and banned them from getting cheap credit until the rates fell. Other reinforcing factors included a proper land registry, a cattle boycott, an amnesty for illegal clearances before 2008 and money from a special $1 billion Amazon Fund financed by foreign aid.