by June Kang
On May 3, 2018, South Korea’s Ministry of Environment (MOE) proposed amendments to the Chemicals Control Act (CCA) that would implement a chemical substance lifecycle management tracking system. The goal of the tracking system is to identify the cause, trace the distribution, and immediately respond in the event of accidents or hazards caused by chemical substances.
To implement this system, the MOE would assign a unique identification (ID) number for every chemical substance at the time of manufacture or import. It would be mandatory to include this ID number on the package or container of a chemical product containing any hazardous chemical substances throughout its entire lifecycle, including blending, storage, sale and usage. The ID number would then be tracked while the substance is in circulation in South Korea.
The ID number would be a 20-digit combination of numeric characters and letters. A proposed example is shown in the box below.
The ID number would be assigned based on the information submitted to the MOE in the “Notification of Details for Chemical Substance” form prior to manufacture or import. This form must include detailed information on the chemical substance, such as the full disclosure of the substance, risk/hazard information, physicochemical properties and other required information. This Notification would replace the CCA’s current “Written Confirmation of Details for Chemical Product” and is expected to take effect two years after the legislation has passed.
MOE would update the submitted information in its database for more organized control and would only disclose necessary hazard and safety handling information to the public. No confidential data and information will be disclosed under the data protection clause.
Overseas manufacturers can appoint an Only Representative (OR), based in South Korea, to handle submission of confidential information and to take responsibility for administrative and legal requirements. An OR is obligated to report their appointment or resignation to the MOE.
Through these amendments, the MOE would increase transparency to chemical distribution channels and fair trade as well as exercises to disseminate hazard information on chemical products for the public’s right to know. For the protection of downstream users, anyone transferring the chemical product, including manufacturers and importers, would be required to provide detailed chemical safety information including the ID number, risk/hazard information and safety handling information to the recipient.
The public comment period closed on May 14, 2018.
References (in Korean only):
- [MOE Press Release] – Implementation of a Chemical Lifecycle Tracking and Management System: [보도자료] 화학물질도 식품처럼 유통 이력을 추적, 관리한다
- The draft of amendments to the Chemicals Control Act (CCA) (MOE’s Public Announcement No. 2018-368): 화학물질관리법 개정안 입법예고 (환경부공고 제2018-368호)
Ministry of Environment (MOE)
Chemicals Control Act (CCA)