Announcement of Amendment to the Chemicals Control Act in South Korea
The Ministry of Environment recently announced amendments to the Chemical Controls Act (the “Act”), which proposes a universal chemical tracking system.
The summary of the amendments is as follows.
Introduction of Chemical Tracking System
- Reporting of verification of chemical substances: Currently, companies are required to check whether chemical substances contain toxic substances or controlled substances and submit a verification statement; under the amendment, submission of statement would be replaced with reporting of all toxic or controlled substances and each chemical substance would be given a checking number (composed of approximately 20 digits depending on the country of manufacture, report year, hazard information (physical, health, environmental hazard, etc.), serial number, etc.).
* Those who handle harmful chemical substance would be required to display the checking number on containers/packages.
- Reporting of appointing agents for overseas manufacturers: Currently overseas manufacturers are reluctant to disclose information regarding chemical components/contents to domestic companies due to the fear of exposing their trade secrets; the amended Act seeks to resolve this problem by allowing the overseas manufacturers to appoint a domestic agent to act on their behalf to disclose chemical components/contents through the new reporting system.
- Mandatory provision of information to sub-users of chemical substances: Any transferor of chemical substances, including chemical substance manufactures/importers, are required to provide to its transferee with chemical substance checking number, hazard and risk information, safe handling information, etc., provided that, if substance safety data is prepared/provided pursuant to Article 41 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, such information can be included in the substance safety data.
- Establishment and operation of chemical substance distribution management system: The Ministry of Environment will establish an information system (i.e., chemical substance distribution system) that assesses and monitors at all times the real-time status of distribution of chemical substances (e.g., reporting of verification of chemical substance, statistical survey (biennial), import and export, etc.).
*The Ministry of Environment will also share chemical customs clearance information with the Customs Service to use them as basis for utilizing compliance check/imposition of sanctions under the Act.
- Abolition of toxic substance import declaration: Pursuant to the new verification reporting system required for all chemical substances (at the time of manufacturing/importing), the existing toxic substance import declaration is no longer required.