Taiwan: Legislators Revise Chemicals Law

On December 21, 2018, the Parliament of Taiwan (in Chinese only) agreed to changes to the Toxic Chemicals and Concerned Substances Control Act (TCCSCA). The changes deal with handling chemicals that involved health and safety risks. A total of 75 articles went into effect.

According to the Toxic and Chemical Substance Bureau, the responsible department of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the revised law introduces a new era in the regulation of toxic chemicals in Taiwan. Companies must deal with the following changes:

  • The law has been expanded to cover “substances of concern” that might not be directly toxic but that present health and safety risks.
  • A new chapter covers the prevention of accidents and responses to emergencies.
  • A National Chemical Management Board has been created by the prime minister, Tsai Ing-Wen, to coordinate the exchange of information on chemical regulations between individual ministries.
  • A fund has been set up to hold registration fees and fines that the EPA collects from companies. The primary task of the fund is to finance disaster recovery.
  • In a serious case, the period for reporting to fire departments and other local authorities about issues with the storage and use of dangerous chemicals has been reduced from 1 hour to 30 minutes.
  • Chemicals may no longer be sold without positive identification, including online sales.
  • Whistle-blowers should enjoy better protection and greater rewards. The profit from illegal activities should be confiscated more energetically in the future.

TCCSCA regulates the registration of new and old chemicals. Chemical Watch cites Wu Yu-chin, a representative of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who states the revision will improve collaboration between governments and accelerate regulatory processes. The setup of the National Chemical Management Board will assist here.

Up to now, dealing with chemicals was regulated by at least 17 laws administered by 13 ministries of the central government and local agencies. Ms. Wu particularly emphasized the importance of measures to prevent chemical accidents. In fact, the fire disaster that occurred at the end of April at the Chin Poon industrial factory, a large manufacturer of PVC, was a major driver of the revision. Seven employees and fire-fighters were killed in the accident, and many more fire-fighters were seriously injured by the acids and alkalis stored at the facility.

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