Top Ten Global EHS Updates–July 2017

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Global EHS Updates


1. Australia amends Water Act

The Australian Water Act was most recently amended on May 23, 2017, to incorporate changes to Sub-clause 5(2) of Schedule 1, as stipulated by the Water Amendment (Murray-Darling Basin Agreement) Regulations 2017.

Additional information can be found here.


2. New regulatory regime proposed for the upstream oil and gas sector

New requirements concerning hydrocarbon emissions from upstream activities in the oil and gas sector may soon come into force.

These requirements would be implemented through the proposed Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds which would be made under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The Proposed Regulations would impose requirements related to production processes and equipment, and would require all upstream oil and gas facilities to register and keep records to demonstrate compliance with the Proposed Regulations.

More information is available here.

3. Regulatory control of synthetic opioid proposed

The substance U-47700 and its salts, isomers, derivatives and analogues, and salts of isomers, derivatives and analogues may soon be controlled in Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

In general, U-47700, is a synthetic opioid that is used by illicit drug manufacturers in counterfeit prescription medications and other illicit drug mixtures such as cocaine and heroin. The substance was never developed for use as a medicinal drug and has no known legitimate use apart from scientific research.

In more detail, control of the group of substances under the Act would prohibit, among other activities, the possession, trafficking, importation, exportation, and production of the following substances:

More information is available here.

4. Plastic micro beads to be prohibited in toiletries and related products

The manufacture, import or sale of toiletries that contain plastic micro beads, including non-prescription drugs and natural health products will soon be prohibited in Canada. The new micro beads in Toiletries Regulations establish prohibitions according to the following timeline:

Prohibition of the manufacture or import of toiletries containing micro beads as of January 1, 2018.
Prohibition of the sale or offer for sale of these products as of July 1, 2018.
Prohibition of the manufacture or import of non-prescription drugs and natural health products containing micro beads as of July 1, 2018.
Prohibition of the sale or offer for sale of these products as of July 1, 2019.
The micro beads in Toiletries Regulations, made under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act are in force as of January 1, 2018. More information is available here.


5. Denmark Consults on Law Amending the Law on the Arrangement of Certain Products

Denmark has opened a consultation on a law amending the law on the arrangement of certain products where certain products are corrected in the current law for two new EU regulations, including the regulations for personal protective equipment such as safety boots, helmets, and gloves. Comments must be submitted by August 14, 2017.

Additional information can be found here.


6. German Waste Disposal Ordinance Takes Effect

On June 1, 2017, Germany’s latest Waste Disposal Ordinance went into effect. The ordinance regulates requirements for waste disposal companies and operates under section 56(2) of the Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act. Under the Ordinance, companies supervise and certify their waste disposal with oversight from technical monitoring and waste disposal organizations. Specifically, the Ordinance imposes requirements for waste disposal companies, persons employed in the disposal department, and experts, among other actors. Those who are tasked with certain responsibilities under the Ordinance must also meet its requirements for monitoring, reporting, and certification. Activities of waste disposal are part of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.


7. Swedish Authorities Strengthen Fight Against PFAS

Thirty-Seven Swedish government agencies and research institutions have signed letters of intent to increase their cooperation in fighting issues relating to highly fluorinated substances (PFAS). The signing of the intent letters signifies each organization’s commitment to reduce PFAS risks and raise awareness of such risks, specifically through risk assessments, regulatory development, environmental monitoring, research, technical development, and supervision.

Many commonly utilized products contain PFAS, such as fire foam, textiles, food packaging, detergents, and cosmetics. These substances have the potential to contaminate waterways and compromise public drinking systems, particularly because they are water soluble and highly mobile in soil.  Signatories of the PFAS letter of intent include the Public Health Agency, the Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Geotechnical Institute, and the Chemicals Agency.

Additional information can be found here.

United States

8. Privacy Act exemptions requested by government agency

The Department of Homeland Security would like to exempt more of their system of records from the Privacy Act. A system of records is a group of any identifying records under the control of a government agency and the Privacy Act controls that agency’s access and use of this information.

More information is available here.

9. Fees established for eligible water infrastructure project loans

The Environmental Protection Agency has established fees related to the provision of loans to eligible water infrastructure projects.

This is effective June 28, 2017. More information is available here.

10. Energy conservation standards released for refrigeration systems 

The Department of Energy has released a list of energy conservation standards for walk-in cooler and freezer refrigeration systems.

The effective date of this release is September 8, 2017. Compliance with the standards is required on and after July 10, 2020. More information is available here.

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