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Indonesia nears completion of revised chemicals regulations

Places - Indonesia - Jakarta © Warren Goldswain - Fotolia.com

A major update of Indonesia’s system for the management of hazardous and toxic substances, known as Bahan Berbahaya dan Beracun (B3), is being finalised.

Sources in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry tell Chemical Watch that relevant ministries have reviewed the legislation and it is close to release. The exact date of implementation, however, is still unknown.

The changes expected are:

  • to the classification system, to match the Globally Harmonized System (GHS);
  • types of chemicals, for example, substances, mixtures and preparations;
  • the list of chemicals; and
  • the use of a technical team to monitor the regulation, to be drawn from ministries, universities, industrial associations and environmental organisations.

The regulation affects every company in Indonesia that produces, imports, transports and stores hazardous chemicals. They will have to register and submit notifications on chemicals, whether manufactured for exports or imported, to the authorities.

Substances placed on the market, for the first time, will require a risk analysis report, based on chemical characteristics, to be submitted to the Hazardous and Toxic Substances (HTS) Committee. This could impose significant regulatory and financial demands on companies, dealing with new chemicals, as they will have to perform chemical characterisation tests. Such chemicals will only be allowed on the market, after receiving authorisation from the committee.

The revision is the final stage of a consultation with ministries, local government, industrial sectors and laboratories. Issues raised by affected industries include: the scope of the regulation; the cut-off value for what is regulated; the list of chemicals; public access to information; and harmonisation with existing chemical regulations.

The 2001 Regulation of Hazardous and Toxic Substance Management (B3) is being updated, for several reasons:

  • the Environmental Protection and Management Act of 2009 creates a mandate for change;
  • international agreements and conventions, signed by Indonesia, such as the Stockholm (2009), the Rotterdam (2013) and the Minamata (2013) Conventions that affect it; and
  • lessons that have been drawn from implementation, since 2001.

It has also addressed the role of the various ministries and local government.

The update accompanies other regulatory changes. Regulations on the management of hazardous wastes are being revised. Progress has also been made on GHS implementation, following a 2013 decree by the Minister of Industry. From 21 December, the standard will be compulsory for chemical mixtures, with an exemption for SMEs.

In 2010, an electronic registration system for hazardous and toxic substances was put in place.

The regulation covers substances, which affect the environment or human health because of their nature and/or volume. However, not in scope are:

  • radioactive materials;
  • explosives;
  • mining and production of oil and gas and their processed products;
  • food and beverages and other food additives;
  • household medical supplies;
  • cosmetics;
  • pharmaceutical ingredients;
  • narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursors as well as other addictive substances; and
  • chemical and biological weapons.

Rashmi Naidu

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