China’s MEE Chemical Reporting Plan: Assessing Environmental Risks
In May 2022, China’s State Council published the New Pollutants Control Action Plan (“Plan”). The Plan states that China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) will complete, by the end of 2023, the first round of surveys on basic information of chemical substances and the risk assessments on the first batch of priority chemical substances. MEE adopted the Chemical Substance Environmental Information Statistical Investigation System (“Investigation”) earlier this year and developed an online platform for enterprises that fall under certain industry classifications to report the chemicals that are manufactured and used by these enterprises.
Chemicals subject to the reporting are classified into four categories. The information required for each category varies.
- Chemical substances for basic environmental information survey, which are those of high concern, high production (use) volume, and high environmental detection rates, total 3,960 types. The identities, quantities, and uses of these chemicals should be reported.
- Chemical substances for detailed environmental information survey, which are those listed in the First Batch of Chemical Substances for Environmental Risk Priority Assessment Plan (still in draft) and the Inventory of Priority Controlled Chemicals (first batch and second batch), total 40 types. Information related to manufacture, processing/use, and disposal is needed for reporting.
- Chemical substances for key control information investigation, which are those listed in the List of Priority Controlled New Pollutants (2023 Version), total 14 types. Information related to the implementation of environmental risk measures is needed.
- Chemical substances for convention implementation information survey, including PFOS, PFOA, decabromodiphenyl ether, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, etc. Production capacity, production volume, storage volume, use volume, applications, or destinations are necessary for reporting.
Once a company registers and logs into the online platform, it will be able to check the status of an individual substance by entering the CASRN or chemical name.
The Investigation will take three years. A company must do the reporting three times in 2023, 2024, and 2025, respectively. According to the Plan, the main objectives are to complete the environmental risk screening of high concern and high production (use) chemical substances and complete the environmental risk assessment of a batch of chemical substances by 2025; to dynamically publish the list of priority controlled new pollutants; and to implement environmental risk control measures on priority controlled new pollutants, such as prohibition, restriction, and emission control.
We note that the deadlines for reporting set by local environmental authorities are different from one area to another. Thus, it is advisable that companies confirm the corresponding deadlines with local environmental authorities. Following the submission by enterprises, local environmental authorities may conduct an on-site audit to verify the information. The data will be compiled and submitted to provincial-level authorities and MEE.
Should you have any questions or commentary, please do not hesitate to contact David Ettinger (email@example.com), Chen Hu (firstname.lastname@example.org), Eric Gu (email@example.com), or your existing contact at Keller and Heckman LLP.