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Carbon Neutrality
On 18 January 2024, ECHA published a screening report to assess whether the use of these four benzotriazoles in articles, including UV-328, UV 327, UV-350, and UV-320, should be restricted in accordance with REACH Article 69(2). Based on the available evidence, ECHA is considering restricting or prohibiting the use (or presence) of three out of the four substances, including UV-320, UV-350, and UV-327 in articles and preparing an Annex XV dossier for restriction. In terms of UV-328, ECHA is of the view that at present there is no need to prepare an Annex XV dossier for restriction as the substance is expected to be addressed by the EU POPs regulation.
In January 2024, the Mexican Congress proposed to amend its General Health Law to prohibit the extraction, production, import, export, sale, or distribution of asbestos and its products in the Mexican market, to safeguard public health and environmental safety. Under the NOM-010-STPS-2014, the 'Exposure Limit Value' (VLE) for any asbestos is set at 0.1 f/cm³(fibers per cubic centimeter). However, the American research believes that this VLE is insufficient to safeguard the public health. Therefore, Mexico is now moving forward with a proposal to ban asbestos products entirely, driven by heightened concerns about public health and safety.
The United States Congress has proposed to amend a bill, adding substances including PFAS, ortho-phthalates, bisphenols, styrene, and antimony trioxide as unsafe for use in food contact materials. As an increasing number of states have enacted their own regulations on food safety, the House of Representatives has proposed to introduce an Act cited as the “No Toxic in Food Packaging Act of 2023” on October 26. The Act aims to federally prohibit the use of certain compounds in Food Contact Materials(FCMs). Notably, there is an overlap with restrictions outlined in the previously introduced U.S. Plastic Act. After several rounds of intense debate, the Congress ultimately decided to designate the following substances deemed unsafe for use as food contact substances in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which comes into effect two years after the date of enactment of this Act.
On September 27, 2023, ECHA was mandated to prepare an Annex XV report for possible restriction of chromium substances (CrVI). ECHA should submit a restriction proposal by October 4, 2024. This restriction proposal intends to improve the effectiveness and management of chromium (VI) substances in the European Union.
On October 20, 2023, China’s Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs jointly issued an announcement regarding the temporary export control measures on graphite materials. Some materials will be subject to export control, and three highly sensitive graphite materials including spherical graphite, which were previously subject to temporary control, will be included in the list of dual-use items for export control. Moreover, temporary control measures on five low-sensitivity graphite materials primarily used in industries such as steel, metallurgy, and chemicals, including carbon electrodes of a kind used for furnaces, will be removed. The control measures take effect on December 1, 2023.
On September 13, 2023, the European Chemicals Agency's (ECHA) Enforcement Forum decided to make its advice on the enforceability of REACH restriction proposals public. It officially published its first advice on the proposal to restrict creosote and related substances in treated wood.
On August 25, 2023, the European Commission released the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/1656 amending Regulation (EU) No 649/2012. 35 chemicals (27 pesticides and 8 industrial chemicals) were added to Annex I of (EU)2023/1656. Currently, there are 295 entries in the Annex I.
On July 17, 2023, the European Union published Regulation (EU) 2023/1464 to amend the REACH Regulation by introducing a new restriction – Article 77, which specifically addresses formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing substances in Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation. This new provision will come into effect 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. This update can be seen as a comprehensive control measure by the EU to regulate formaldehyde, and the scope of applicable products is no longer limited to those containing boards; it now encompasses almost all lightweight consumer products, including furniture, toys, baby and children's products, tools, stationery, fitness equipment, pet supplies, and sanitary products, among others.
On March 15, 2023, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) published a public consultation on the Notice of the Entry into Force (Draft for Comments) of the Amendments to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants to List Three Persistent Organic Pollutants Including Polychlorinated Naphthalenes, and the Amendments to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants to List Three Persistent Organic Pollutants Including Short-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins. The consultation closed on March 27, 2023.
On January 13, 2023, five countries – Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden – submitted a restriction proposal to ECHA on Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) under REACH. On February 7, ECHA published the detailed restriction proposal of roughly 10,000 PFASs, which is the broadest restriction proposal in history. Next, ECHA will start a six-month public consultation on PFASs on March 22.