KEYWORDS: green chemistry, compliance, chemicals, K-REACH, REACH
ABSTRACT: As governments, industries, and companies search for clean, safe alternatives to hazardous chemical substances, green chemistry innovation presents itself as a growing business opportunity throughout the world. For businesses looking to address this need, the challenge lies in successfully navigating the regulatory requirements hazardous substances are subject to, and ensuring that proposed alternatives are viable. As a result, businesses looking to deliver their innovations to new countries must stay aware of the regulatory trends that could affect their entrance into the market.
This article studies various cases of chemicals substitution in Asia as a part of green chemistry management and the extent to which EU REACH Authorization procedure has affected chemicals substitution in South Korea, China, and Japan. With exception of South Korea, whose K-REACH contains explicit provisions for chemical substitution, China and Japan do not provide regulatory framework of chemicals substitution under their respective equivalence of REACH, but rather operate outside of it.
EU REACH AND CHEMICALS SUBSTITUTION
The EU's Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, commonly known as REACH, has significantly affected chemical management frameworks across Asia. One of the EU's main objectives through REACH is to bring "greener," safer chemicals onto the market by actively pursuing a policy of finding safer alternatives to more hazardous substances currently in use.
Green chemistry management under EU REACH is the "A" in the acronym REACH. A fundamental part of REACH, under the Authorization procedure, chemicals are identified as substances of very high concern (SVHC) and eventually phased out through chemical substitution, unless an authorization is obtained for specific uses of SVHCs.
When considering the continued use of SVHCs, as listed on REACH's Annex XIV, called the Authorization List, companies have a deadline, or "sunset date," set for each Annex XIV-listed substance, after which these substances may no longer be used in the EU, if said companies have not secured an authorization for specific uses. Furthermore, to apply for an authorization, companies must come up with a substitution plan for the relevant SVHC, as well as submit other extensive documentation, including a socio-economic analysis.
A number of non-governmental initiatives, like the "Substitute It Now," or SIN List, containing more than 600 substances identified as SVHCs according to REACH, also testify to the significance substituting hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives has in the EU.
ASIA CHEMICALS SUBSTITUTION
The impact of REACH can be seen across the globe, particularly in Asia. Following the EU's lead, Asian countries have adopted the spirit of REACH and have adapted their own versions of the policy with the goal of delivering safer chemicals to the market. While this is generally true, it is important to note that each country has its own specific set of procedures and deadlines. For businesses interested in exploring overseas opportunities, it is critical to understand the regulatory landscape that affects these countries and how to achieve compliance for chemical substances in each country. The...