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Legislative Measure Proposes New Chemicals Oversight

Legislative Measure Proposes New Chemicals Oversight

While Brazil has laws governing certain chemical products, such as pesticides, sanitizing products, and hazardous materials, it has no broad laws regulating chemicals. The absence of this regulation has left chemical oversight scattered among various government agencies. The Ministry of the Environment, however, hopes that will change. It has proposed draft legislation to fix the problem.

The proposed legislation covers matters such as registration and reporting requirements, risk assessments, and risk management measures that would govern the production, import, and use of chemical substances. According to The National Law Review, it is the first time a Latin American government has taken such strong measures to develop comprehensive chemicals legislation.

While the weight of the proposed legislation would be borne primarily by chemical companies, it would no doubt affect a wider range of industries. It would mean that companies that work with chemicals would also need to be aware of the proposed changes.

Work on the legislation dates to 2013 when the Ministry of the Environment began a review of regulatory processes in Europe, Canada, and China, explains Chemical Watch. Officials concluded that Canada’s regulations appeared to be the most suitable to Brazil’s needs.

Though the legislation aims to be comprehensive, it will not cover all chemicals. Radioactive chemicals, chemicals developed exclusively for research, metals and alloys used for structural purposes, and active pharmaceutical ingredients used in human and veterinary medicines are all excluded from the bill, The National Law Review explains.

Chemicals that are covered by the measure would be logged in a national registry. Companies would be required to update and maintain this registry. Companies that do not register their products or submit false or misleading information would be subject to fines and other penalties.

The requirements outlined can still be changed, shaped by public comment and the whims of the legislative process. But the fact that the legislation was developed under President Dilma Rousseff’s administration and survived the transition to interim President Michel Temer, along with a change in ministry leadership, suggests we may see a new chemicals law very soon.