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Guard food safety, protect health and ensure safety: EPA announces 15 concerned chemical substances in 3 categories

  • Department:Evaluation Management Division

       Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has added 15 concerned chemical substances in 3 categories – including 5 chemical substances with food safety risks and concern, 8 explosive precursor chemicals and 2 new psychoactive substances – on January 12, 2023. EPA aims to enforce the production, import, sale, use, storage and transport of these substances by evaluating the operational risk and announcing explosive precursor chemicals as hazardous concerned chemical substances. To avoid the improper use harming human health and the environment, handlers shall obtain approval documents before February 1, 2024.

       EPA indicated that lead tetroxide (commonly known as red lead or minium), which had been announced as a chemical substance with food safety concern, was added to the prohibited medicine “cinnabar” by a Chinese medicine clinic in Taichung in August 2020. Long term ingesting lead tetroxide will cause lead poisoning because of the lead accumulate of bone. Lead poisoning can result in ataxia, epilepsy, coma, neuropathy (e.g., encephalopathy) or harms to multiple organs, such as kidney, heart, reproductive system and endocrine system. Therefore, to protect public health, EPA has announced  lead tetroxide as a concerned chemical substance with the aspiration to prevent  such incidents by the source control.

        In addition, EPA also announced lead monoxide, which was added to century egg to shorten its production process; sodium sulfide, which was added to stinky tofu to create the sulfide smell that stinky tofu has; and sodium thiocyanate and β-naphthol, which were added to dairy product or soy sauce to extend their shelf life, as concerned chemical substances due to their food safety risk and concern.

        EPA further selected calcium ammonium , which was used as the raw material of dynamite by international terrorists; ammonium perchlorate, sodium perchlorate, sodium nitrate and calcium nitrate, which are the raw materials of firecrackers and fireworks and were made into homemade bombs (so-called improvised explosive device)  in domestic explosion cases; nitromethane and sodium azide, which are easy to cause violent explosion in the case of high temperatures or impact; and aluminum phosphide, which is highly reactive with water/acid  that result in decomposition to phosphine gas, that can spontaneously ignites and explodes when it reacts with oxidizing agents at high temperatures. As the abovementioned 8 explosive precursor chemicals can cause public safety threats and harm human health, EPA has, due to the characteristics of these substances, listed them as hazardous concerned chemical substances.

       To prevent adolescent health from being threatened by new psychoactive substances, EPA has, based on the list of chemical substances reported by worldwide nations to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, listed 1,4-butanediol and  (S)-5,6,6a,7-tetrahydro-1,2,9,10-tetramethoxy-6-methyl-4H-dibenzo[de,g]quinoline, which had not been announced as drugs, as concerned chemical substances first.

       EPA pointed out that the production, import, sale, use, storage and transport of chemical substances with food safety risk concern and new psychoactive substances  have to be controlled based on the “Four Yes” (yes to obtaining an approval, labeling, recording every transaction and doing monthly declaration) and “Two No” (no to online transactions and using without approval) control measures; and that the containers of chemical substances with food safety risk concern have to be labeled with the Chinese words of “prohibited from use in food”. As for explosive precursor chemicals, the production, import, sale, transport, use and storage should be controlled with the “Five Yes” (yes to obtaining an approval, labeling, recording every transaction online, doing monthly declaration, and adopting prevention and response measures) and “Two No” (no to online transactions and using without approval) control measures. When the total handling quantity reach the graded handling quantity, the handler shall comply with regulations regarding accident prevention and emergency response of the Toxic and Concerned Chemical Substances Control Act, which need to report the hazard prevention and response plan to the competent authority, purchase a liability insurance, conduct/participate in emergency responder training, form/join a joint defense organization, prepare emergency response/detection/warning equipment, and submit the transportation declaration form, to reach the purpose of chemical substance risk management.

       EPA emphasized that, after being announced as concerned chemical substances, the aforesaid 15 substances will be immediately prohibited from being traded online or on other platforms that cannot identify the trading parties. Existing handlers shall obtain approval documents, make the labeling and complete other matters specified above before February 1, 2024, and regularly declare operations related records since that day. For new handlers, there is no buffer period for completing the aforesaid requirements. With respect to information related to this news release, please go to EPA’s website to download the attachment or go to the Executive Yuan Gazette Online to download related information.

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  • Count Views:122
  • Release Date:2023-02-16
  • Update:2023-02-16