Top International News in Chemical Policy and Regulation- June 2017: The Americas
Argentina Introduces Pair Of Corporate Social Responsibility Bills: Legislators have introduced two bills in the Argentinian Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados), the lower house of the Argentine National Congress, that would serve to require socially responsible conduct by organizations. Among the “socially responsible conduct” the bills aim to foster would be aspects such as sustainable development, environmental preservation, and citizen access to “environmental and social information” that may be the property of Argentinian and/or other companies.
Should the proposed bills be signed into national law, entities subject to the regulation would be required to develop what is being termed a “Social Balance Report.” The Social Balance Report would be required to contain a comprehensive evaluation of the entity’s socially responsible conduct, although the specific details required and the frequency of reporting have yet to be fully defined.
Brazil Continues To Experience Delays With Industrial Chemicals Regulation: We have closely followed the development of the Industrial Chemicals Regulation in Brazil, the Industrial Chemicals Regulation (Regulação de Substâncias Químicas Industriais, or Regulação).
On May 22, 2017, it was announced that, due to changes inside the Brazilian Ministry of Environment (Ministério do Meio Ambiente, or MMA), the extraordinary meetings of the National Commission of Chemical Safety (CONASQ) were rescheduled for the end of June. As part of the development of the Regulação, all of the comments received during the public consultation period were to be discussed at a meeting of CONASQ. This delay means the earliest the comments may be reviewed and addressed will be at the close of June, however, looking at the developmental history of the Regulação, additional delays should be expected.
Brazilian Chamber Of Deputies Approves Chemical Protective Packaging Amendment: The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos Deputados), the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil, has passed a series of amendments that will define the situations and products for which special protective packaging must be used -- generally for chemicals and medications used in the home environment for which child-resistant packaging is required. The Constitutional, Justice, and Citizenship Committee’s amendments specifically require that the associated packaging would need to be difficult for a child under five years old to open.
Canada Seeks Comment On Proposed Approach To Promote Transparency In CMP Risk Assessment Activities: Canada has begun a public consultation on a proposed approach to promote transparency in Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) risk assessment activities. The approach outlines the steps to achieve an appropriate balance between transparency and the right of stakeholders to protect confidential information. Of particular relevance, Canada states, is the aim to publish a robust rationale for supporting decisions in risk assessments while protecting confidential information. Canada reviewed best practices in other jurisdictions and, based on this review, set out procedures in the proposed approach when claiming confidentiality for information provided to inform risk assessment activities. Canada is currently exploring opportunities for alignment of the process for reviewing confidentiality claims with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Canada states that it will update the approach to reflect the alignment potential and comments received on the proposed approach. Comments are due June 30, 2017.
Canada Delays June 1 WHMIS Deadline: Canada published a notice on May 31, 2017, in the Canada Gazette to extend the first two transition milestones for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) 2015 to provide additional time for Health Canada to consider an industry proposal to protect CBI. Currently, according to the notice, all suppliers have the option of complying with either the Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) or the Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR). To protect ingredient concentrations or concentration ranges as CBI once suppliers transition to compliance with the HPR, they must use the mechanism provided by the Hazardous Material Information Review Act (HMIRA). Since manufacturers and importers of hazardous products were required to comply with the HPR by June 1, 2017, they would have had to submit any CBI claims before that date. To avoid the burden of protecting CBI under HMIRA, industry stakeholders proposed that prescribed concentration ranges be permitted in HPR and used to replace actual concentrations and concentration ranges of ingredients, rather than having to use HMIRA to protect CBI. The notice states that this proposal would allow the supplier to choose whether to disclose the actual point of concentration or concentration range of the ingredient or to make use of the prescribed concentration ranges. Health Canada will consider this proposal through consultations with stakeholders, including labor representatives. The amendments delay the transition deadline for manufacturers, importers, and distributors to become compliant with WHMIS 2015. More specifically, the June 1, 2017, transition deadline for manufacturers and importers is delayed to June 1, 2018, and the June 1, 2018, transition deadline for distributors to become compliant is delayed to September 1, 2018.
Chilean Chamber Of Deputies Approves Resolution Requesting Elimination Of Pesticides: The Chamber of Deputies, the Lower House of the Chilean Congress, has approved a resolution adopting a national plan that would require the elimination of synthetic pesticides. If signed into national law, the plan, which has not yet been published, would establish specific goals and deadlines to replace existing chemical pesticides with those of natural origin. Additionally, the proposed plan would establish a product label, to be used on various foods, that would attest to the absence of pesticides (somewhat analogous to the “natural” food labeling used in other jurisdictions). Finally, the plan would encourage the research and development of organic pesticides, with the manifest goal of determining whether such could be used on a wide scale in Chile.
Chilean Authority Lays Out Requirement To Disclose Fertilizer Ingredients: The Chilean Ministry of Agriculture (Ministerio de Agricultura) has opened the comment period for its regulation “Provisions Concerning the Declaration of the Physico-Chemical Composition of Fertilizers, and Repeal of the Resolution Indicated” (Regulation) (Establece disposiciones para declaración de composición fisico química de los fertilizantes y deroga resolución que indica). The comment period closes June 18, 2017.
The Regulation sets out the requirement for the declaration of the physico-chemical composition of fertilizer products, both imported into and domestically manufactured in the country, with the professed goal of improving the quality of fertilizer products available in the country. The Regulation mandates that manufacturers, importers, and distributors of fertilizers must disclose, either on product containers or product labels or, for bulk products, on the commercial invoice. In addition to the physico-chemical composition, these entities must also declare other parameters, which will depend on the type and nature of the specific fertilizer. These other parameters will include solubility, granulometry, and pH.