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May. 24 Korea: South Korea REACH Legislation Signed Into Law; Registration Starts January 2015

This article is brought to you Bloomberg BNA.

The Law on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals was formally promulgated May 22, completing the enactment of South Korea’s landmark chemical law that will start rolling out a European Union-style system of registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemical substances, the Ministry of Environment said.

President Park Geun-hye signed into law the REACH bill (No. 1904754), which was passed by the National Assembly April 30 after repeated delays over industry opposition (37 CRR 526, 5/6/13).

The law sets Jan. 1, 2015, as the starting date for annual registration.

The REACH law agenda comes down to the idea of establishing data on every large-volume industrial chemical substance. “The law’s stated objective is to realize preventive controls by establishing the ‘no data, no market’ principle,” Cho Eun-hee, chemical substances department director at the ministry’s Division of Environmental Health Policy, told BNA.

The ministry may require risk assessments for products with suspected chemical toxicity. Common household items such as synthetic detergents, fabric whiteners, cleansers, air fresheners, and adhesives are cited by the ministry as among product examples requiring risk communication. Also included are biocidal products such as insect killing sprays.

Foreign companies selling chemicals and chemical-based products to South Korea also face compliance challenges, including the requirement for maintaining a local representative as a channel of REACH-related communication, she said. “Based on the European Union’s experience with REACH,” she said, “supply chain management will be key to staying in compliance for all relevant chemical ingredients going through the supply chain.”

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