Global Environment

National Action Plan for Agenda 21 -Chap. 19

[Agenda 21] National Action Plan for Agenda 21

Chapter 19 ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF TOXIC CHEMICALS, INCLUDING PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC IN TOXIC AND DANGEROUS PRODUCTS

A) Expanding and Accelerating International Assessment of Chemical Risks

There are various and diverse purposes and kinds of chemicals, with tens of thousands of different kinds of chemicals being produced for industrial purposes alone. Many of such chemicals are existing chemicals which have a small amount of data regarding their safety, and in order to prevent pollution to the environment and damage to human health from these chemicals before they can occur, it is necessary to promote safety-related assessments in regards to such matters as the toxicity of chemicals, the behavior of these chemicals in the environment, and the extent to which they are exposed to the living environment. It is also necessary to promote activities for the comprehensive assessment of chemicals, including research on the effects of chemicals on the living environment and human health.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Among countries which belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there has been a plan in action since 1991 for mutual safety assessments of existing chemicals of a high production volume (HPV) (10,000 tons or more for chemicals manufactured in one country, or 1,000 tons or more for chemicals manufactured in two or more countries; a total of 1,592 chemicals), which do not have sufficient data, and Japan has been conducting its share of safety assessment. With agreement among the OECD member countries to have conducted assessments of 648 chemicals by the year 2000, Japan will continue to conduct safety assessments of existing chemicals, and continue to cooperate with these activities.
(2)
As regards improvement in the safety assessment of chemicals, in addition to continuing to cooperate in such activities as conducting the risk assessment which has been conducted thus far through the International Program on Chemical Safety (IPCS) [United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Labour Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO)] and by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as drawing up environmental health criteria, and a health safety guide, Japan will also take part in activities for risk management.
(3)
Japan will continue to cooperate in international research on human exposure assessment of chemical substances.
(4)
Japan will cooperate in activities for the collection of information by international agencies, including those of presenting data from surveys and research on chemicals to the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC).
(5)
Japan will promote joint international research for clarifying the mechanism of toxicity of toxic chemicals, alternative laboratory animals, and the causality between exposure and disease.

19-B) Harmonization of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals

In accordance with such laws as the Law concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances, the Poisonous and Deleterious Substances Control Law, and based on the type of toxicity of certain chemicals, toxic chemicals are classified and labeled in Japan, and in order to raise the level of understanding of those who handle chemicals regarding the safe handling of chemicals, further improvement is necessary in the information system, including worldwide harmonization in the classification and labeling of dangerous and toxic chemicals.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Studies have been promoted by the IPCS, OECD, ILO, IMO and other agencies of the United Nations concerning the concrete details of worldwide harmonization in the classification and labeling of chemicals, and Japan will continue to take part in these studies, including providing cooperation in the activities of the OECD clearing house and the IPCS regulation group.
(2)
As regards the promotion of safety assurance in the handling of toxic chemicals through the presentation of a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) upon the transfer or provision of dangerous and/or toxic chemicals, Japan established and enforced, as of April 1, 1993, a system (guidelines) for the provision of chemical safety-related information, and is making efforts to steadily enforce these guidelines.
(3)
Japan will cooperate with IPCS activities, so that improvements can be realized concerning the International Chemicals Safety Cards (ICSC) and that their worldwide use can be promoted.

19-C) Information Exchange on Toxic Chemicals and Chemical Risks

With great importance for the international promotion of the sound management of toxic chemicals, the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade was adopted by the UNEP in 1987, and amended in 1989.

In addition to the exchange of international information on such matters as regulation measures in various countries, as well as on the conditions of import and export, the amended London Guidelines require improvement in the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure, by which the intent of the importing country is confirmed in advance, and in the Export Notification system, by which related information is provided to the importing country in advance, so that prohibited or strictly restricted chemicals will not be delivered against the intent of the importing country.

Positively conforming to the amended London Guidelines, Japan has adopted a system for the management of exports of toxic chemicals which are prohibited or strictly restricted in Japan or internationally, amending the Export Trade Control Order. It has also provided information concerning trends in the regulations on chemicals as well as the details of the London Guidelines, including the provision of information, to the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) regarding regulation measures for toxic chemicals in Japan.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Conforming to the London Guidelines in order to smoothly enforce the PIC procedure and Export Notification, Japan will continue to provide information on such things as the trend of regulations on chemicals, as well as export management based on the Export Trade Control Order.
(2)
Japan will continue to provide information to the IRPTC concerning legal regulations, including regulations on the export and import of chemicals to and from Japan.

19-D) Establishment of Risk Reduction Programs

Japan has various regulations based on laws. Based on the Law concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances, Japan conducts background examinations regarding safety-related matters concerning the potential for biodegradability, bioaccumulation, and the toxicity of chemicals which will be newly manufactured in or imported into Japan (new chemicals), and based on the findings of such examinations, it regulates the manufacture, import and use of such chemicals. Also, Japan gradually conducts experimentation on safety-related matters concerning the potential for biodegradability, bioaccumulation, and the toxicity of chemicals which have been manufactured and/or imported before this law was established (existing chemicals), and based on the results of this experimentation, it enforces necessary regulations.

Meanwhile, based on the Basic Environment Law Japan establishes environmental quality standards, and also regulates the discharge of chemicals into the environment in order to achieve these standards, based on such laws as the Air Pollution Control Law and the Water Pollution Control Law.

As regards agricultural chemicals, based on the Agricultural Chemicals Regulation Law, Japan prohibits the sale of unregistered agricultural chemicals, and from the perspective of preventing damage (due to agricultural chemicals residue) to humans and livestock as well as to aquatic animals and plants, Japan has established standards for the registration of agricultural chemicals, dependant on their residue in crops and water pollution caused by them.

In addition to enforcing these regulations, Japan conducts systematic environmental surveys, monitoring, etc. in order to grasp the state of chemical residue in the environment, and takes necessary measures based upon the findings.

Japan also takes part in risk reduction programs that are internationally promoted by the chemicals group of the OECD.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Based on the Law concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc., of Chemical Substances, Japan will continue to enforce regulations in accordance with safety examinations of new chemicals, as well as safety tests of existing chemicals.
(2)
In order to achieve the environmental quality standards stipulated in the Basic Environment Law, Japan will continue to enforce measures for the regulation of the discharge of chemicals, based on the Air Pollution Control Law and the Water Pollution Control Law. Also, Japan will take into account the state of pollution of environmental media and, if necessity arises, will introduce further measures for chemicals by appending environmental quality standards and regulations provided for in the Air Pollution Control Law and the Water Pollution Control Law.
(3)
Japan will promote research regarding testing and assessment methods for chemical safety-related matters, as well as regarding the forecasting and assessment methods for the effects of chemicals on human health via the environment, the behavior of these chemicals in the environment, and the effects of chemicals on ecosystems.
(4)
In addition to continuing to make efforts to collect various kinds of knowledge in regards to agricultural chemicals, Japan will continue to conduct testing on the toxicity of agricultural chemicals, as well as basic testing to grasp such matters as the effects of agricultural chemicals on ecosystems. Japan will also further promote measures for preventing water pollution by agricultural chemicals in accordance with the Agricultural Chemicals Regulation Law.
(5)
Japan will continue to conduct systematic environmental surveys and monitoring.
(6)
Japan will actively take part in risk reduction activities that are being promoted by the chemicals group of the OECD.

19-E) Strengthening of National Capabilities and Capacities for Management of Chemicals

As regards chemical substances, Japan conducts appropriate management of chemicals through such means as regulations of their manufacture and use, as well as notification based on the Law concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances; the establishment of environmental quality standards based on the Basic Environment Law; regulation of the discharge of chemicals, observation and measurement regarding chemicals based on the Air Pollution Control Law and Water Pollution Control Law; and regulation of the manufacture, use, and notification of chemicals, based on the Poisonous or Deleterious Substances Control Law.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
Japan will continue to conduct the appropriate management of chemicals, through the steady application of regulations based on various laws and ordinances.
(2)
From the perspective of providing assistance for measures on chemicals in regional society, Japan's national government will promote assistance to regional environmental authorities in the form of the provision of information concerning chemicals and improvements in regional plans of regions to deal with chemical substances.
(3)
Japan will cooperate internationally in order to provide assistance to developing countries to improve their abilities regarding management and safety measures for toxic chemicals.

19-F) Prevention of Illegal International Traffic in Toxic and Dangerous Products

In compliance with the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade Amended 1989, Japan is presently conducting strict management regarding the export of toxic and dangerous products, in accordance with the Export Trade Control Order.

Also, Japan is presently enforcing strict regulations regarding the import of toxic and dangerous products, in accordance with the Law concerning Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances, and the Poisonous or Deleterious Substance Control Law.

Taking the above into account, Japan attaches importance to the implementation of the following activities:

(1)
In compliance with the Amended London Guidelines, Japan will continue to conduct the strict management of exports, in accordance with the Export Trade Control Order. Also, Japan will appropriately review chemicals that are subject to export management.
(2)
Japan will continue to enforce the strict regulation of the import of toxic and dangerous products, in accordance with related laws.

19-G) Enhancement of International Cooperation

Japan has been attaching importance to the following activities, and will continue to promote them.

(1)
In order to deal with the problem of environmental pollution from chemicals, improvements have been made in the law (the Law concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances) which makes it obligatory to file notification for the safety assessment of newly developed chemical compounds before such compounds are manufactured, imported or put on the market, and Japan will continue to steadily enforce this law.
(2)
In order to steadily enforce the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade Amended 1989, concerning the export of chemicals which are either prohibited to be manufactured in or imported into Japan, or for which the manufacture in and/or import into Japan is strictly restricted, as well as chemicals designated as PIC chemicals, (substances which require advanced notification, and to which a system of approval is applied), in July 1992, Japan introduced a system whereby approval for the export of these chemicals is granted only to companies that notify importing countries of this matter, or if an importing country manifests its intention to import these chemicals after explicit verification by the exporting company. Japan will continue to make efforts to enforce this procedure.
(3)
In addition to actively being involved with risk reduction activities of the OECD, as well as with safety checks regarding chemicals of a high production volume, thereby maintaining reliability of experimentation data, Japan has incorporated the GLP (Good Laboratories Practice), which was adopted by the board of directors of the OECD, into the Law concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances. This was done in order to promote the mutual reception of these data between various countries, and Japan will continue to steadily make efforts to enforce these standards.
(4)
Japan sponsors various kinds of activities regarding chemical safety measures, which are carried out by such international organizations and through such international plans as the OECD, WHO and UNEP, and Japan will continue to actively promote related international cooperation.
(5)
Particularly, in order to promote international cooperation regarding measures to deal with toxic chemicals by enhancing the role of the International Program on Chemical Safety (IPCS), Japan will cooperate in the holding of a forum among various governments, scheduled for April 1994.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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