Data and safety requirements for new chemicals: China blows past the US

By: Richard Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Health Program, EDF

In yesterday’s post, I pointed to a number of ways in which China is taking a proactive stance on chemical safety.  I cited China because the U.S. chemical industry, when saber-rattling about what it regards as overly onerous proposals for TSCA reform, loves to chide all of us that those proposals will drive chemical production overseas to China and that innovation of new chemicals will still happen, only it will happen in China instead of the U.S.

I mentioned yesterday that China is in the process of enhancing its regulatory requirements, including making them more like the European Union’s REACH Regulation.  Well, a great article detailing China’s new requirements for new chemicals was published yesterday by Geraint Roberts in Chemical Watch’s Monthly Briefing for November (subscription required).

Those requirements – which actually took effect October 15 – include the very same elements the U.S. industry has been warning would send chemical production and innovation running to China if they were to be adopted in the U.S., including:

  • registration as well as notification requirements for all new chemicals, whatever their production volume;
  • a minimum data set, which increases with production volume;
  • a requirement for re-notification whenever production volume increases significantly or the uses of a chemical change or expand; and
  • risk assessments for all new chemicals produced or imported above one metric ton per year.

Next up for the Chinese?  Similar requirements for existing chemicals, according to the article.

So much for the chemical industry’s hand-wringing about us losing out to China. When it comes to raising the bar for chemical safety, it appears the U.S. is increasingly the odd one out.

This content originally ran on Chemicals & Nanomaterials and is reprinted with permission.