Taiwan's parliament has enacted sweeping changes to the country's toxic chemical law, the Toxic Chemicals and Concerned Substances Control Act (TCCSCA).
Previously known as the Toxic Chemical Substance Control Act the latest move comes after all four major legislative parties signed off on an agreed version in consultations earlier this month.
The revisions were approved by the legislature more than a year after the Executive Yuan, Taiwan's Cabinet, submitted the changes to it in November 2017.
A statement issued by the EPA's Toxic and Chemical Substance Bureau said the revisions will usher in a "new era of toxic chemical substance regulation" in Taiwan and highlighted the following seven key aspects to the revamped framework:
- increasing the scope of regulation to "substances of concern" that may not be directly toxic, but nonetheless carry health and safety risks;
- a new chapter on accident prevention and emergency response;
- forming a national chemical management board convened by the premier to bolster horizontal coordination among ministries involved in chemical regulation;
- establishing a toxic and chemical substance fund with registration fees and fines collected by the EPA from chemical users to finance programmes that bolster point-of-origin regulation and help companies lower disaster response costs;
- measures to help reduce incident reporting times from one hour to 30 minutes and have better reporting of storage and use of dangerous chemicals to fire departments and other local authorities;
- prohibitions on purchasing without clear identification, for example through online sales, of toxic and chemical substances; and,
- increased provisions to protect and reward whistle-blowers together with stiffer measures to confiscate profits from illegal activities.
After the completion of the third reading, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Ms Wu Yu-chin said the revised law will "strengthen the government's capability to carry out point of origin regulation and expedite better cooperation between the central and local governments in ensuring food safety".
Ms Wu added she had called on the government to introduce a new chapter of the law devoted to bolstering toxic chemical disaster prevention and response to improve coordination between government and users and measures to improve disaster prevention and response training and capabilities in chemical producers and users.
More details available on CW+AsiaHub
Dennis Engbarth in Taipei City