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Brazil finalises draft law for industrial chemicals regulation

Places - Brazil Rio © f11photo - Fotolia.com

Brazil's National Chemical Safety Commission, Conasq, has approved a draft law for the industrial chemicals sector, paving the way for enactment by April.

The draft chemicals Act is expected to set out provisions covering the registration, evaluation and control of chemicals. Brazil also plans a registry and technical committees for selecting substances and imposing regulatory measures.

While the details will not be released until 17 October, Chemical Watch understands that it maintains the same principles as the public consultation document with differences in some sections, such as on exemptions and confidential business information (CBI). 

The draft clarifies how to avoid regulatory duplication and that mixtures characterised as pesticides, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers (all the products controlled under a regulatory scheme) are exempt from the law.

Conasq has described the CBI section of the draft as "much more mature" without providing further details.

Brazil, Colombia and Chile are all adopting chemical regulation regimes, while Argentina and Ecuador have started the process. The South American interest has been spurred by a desire to join the OECD, which requires members to adhere to policies, some that relate to chemical management. Chile and Colombia are already OECD members; Brazil formally applied for full membership last year.

Presidential election

Once Brazil’s draft law is introduced it must go to Congress, which can chose to arrange hearings to weigh public opinion or approve the bill without further consideration. The process incorporated public comment and had NGO and industry support, so Congress approval is expected within six months, Conasq said.

The country's election on Sunday, however, could cause a delay. Should no presidential candidate win a majority, a runoff vote is set for 28 October.

In addition to the public unveiling on 17 October, Brazil plans to hold a day-long seminar to discuss the draft law.

The Brazilian Chemical Industry Association, Abiquim, represents about 160 companies in the country. Fernando Tibau, Abiquim’s technical adviser for regulatory affairs, previously told Chemical Watch that the plans for chemicals notification and evaluation should be similar to Canada’s Chemical Management Plan (CMP) – which screens and prioritises chemicals on a national inventory for risk management actions.

Brazil is also weighing a RoHS-like regulation. The aim is to align the Brazilian regulation with the EU's Directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) in EEE. It is already dubbed Brazil RoHS in official circles.

The draft would see restrictions on lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE); and four phthalates – DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP. Products affected include: lamps, toys, mobile phones, computers, refrigerators, and air conditioning.

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