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Invitation for Public Comments on the Report regarding the Reduction of the Unintentional Contaminant, HCB, in TCPA and Solvent Red 135

August 10, 2006

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) invite public comments on the draft report* regarding low-level, by-product Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) contained in Tetrachlorophtalic anhydride (TCPA, CAS No.117-08-8) and Solvent Red 135 (CAS No.20749-68-2). Comments will be received until September 8 and will be used as a reference in finalizing the report.

The draft report was compiled by the "Assessment Committee on the BAT** Levels for Reduction of a Specified Chemical as a Contaminant By-product". The committee was established in April 2006 by the three Ministries to cope with HCB that occurs as a minor contaminant in TCPA and other chemicals (e.g. solvent red 135). The committee has conducted hearings with producers and importers of these chemical substances to evaluate the BAT for reducing HCB. The committee finally completed the draft report proposing the BAT levels for reduction of these chemicals (200ppm for TCPA and 10ppm for Solvent Red 135).
HCB is to be eliminated globally based on the Stockholm Convention*** and is designated in Japan as one of the Class I Specified Chemicals of which production, import and use are prohibited under the Chemical Substances Control Law. Once the BAT levels are set for these chemicals and enforced, by-product HCB below those levels will only be allowed as an "unintentional trace contaminant" in Japan****.

Notes:
* "Report on BAT Levels for Reduction of Unintentional Contaminant HCB in TCPA and Solvent Red 135" (currently available only in Japanese)
** BAT=Best Available Technology/Techniques
*** Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
**** After finalizing the report, a TBT notification to other nations under the WTO rule will be issued with regard to establishment of the BAT reduction levels.

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