27 Jun 2024

Regulatory Review: April–June 2024

This digest provides an overview of some of the latest regulatory news announcements of interest to the SETAC community. Please send your suggestions to [email protected].


Draft Update to Significant Impact Guidelines – Changes to Water Trigger

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) has released a draft update to Significant Impact Guidelines 1.3 - Coal seam gas and large coal mining developments - impacts on water resources to reflect recent changes to the water trigger. 

Draft Guidance on Decommissioning of Oil and Gas Platforms and Sea Dumping

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority has issued draft guidance that outlines the types of property and infrastructure that can’t be left in the sea. It also includes the types that may be permitted to be left in the sea, in limited circumstances. You can also view the summary overview.

China Ministry of Ecology and Environment

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have published the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Control in China (2004–2024). This guidance introduces China’s concepts, practices and their effectiveness on POPs control.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC) 

Final Assessments Published

The government of Canada has released several new assessment publications in the third phase of their Chemicals Management Plan: Aldehydes Group,  Acids and Bases Group,  Piperazine, Select Hydrocarbon-based Substances and Substances Identified as Being of Low Concern

Environmental Quality Guidelines for Iron Published

The Federal Water Quality Guidelines for the protection of aquatic life from adverse effects of iron (Fe) in freshwaters and the summary of public comments on its draft have been published.

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

Restriction Proposal on Chromium (IV) Broadened

The European Commission has requested that ECHA broaden the scope of the REACH proposal to restrict chromium (VI) substances. Given the change, ECHA will launch a second call for evidence and submit the proposal by April 2025.

Joint Framework on for Action on the One Health Agenda

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), European Environment Agency (EEA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and European Medicines Agency (EMA) published a joint framework for action to strengthen cooperation to support the implementation of the One Health agenda in the European Union.  A cross-agency task force will work to implement the framework over the next three years (2024–2026).

Update to Research Needs for Regulating Hazardous Chemicals

ECHA identified the key areas of scientific research that are needed to improve chemicals regulation in the EU. The areas identified are needed to:

  • Protect against the most harmful chemicals
  • Address chemical pollution in the environment
  • Shift away from animal testing
  • Improve chemical data availability

Japan Ministry of the Environment

The Ministry of the Environment, Japan, released marine plastic litter mapping database named the Atlas of Ocean Microplastics (AOMI), which includes ocean surface microplastic monitoring data and provides 2D maps of microplastic distribution and monitoring locations.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Infrastructure for a Climate-Resilient Future

A new OECD report, Infrastructure for a Climate-Resilient Future, recommends governments systematically factor climate resilience into infrastructure planning and decision-making. Read the press release: Massive investment is needed in sustainable infrastructure to build climate change resilience - OECD).

United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)

2024–2027 Climate Adaptation Plan

USEPA released its 2024–2027 Climate Adaptation Plan, which describes agency actions to address the impacts of climate change and help build a more climate-resilient nation.

6PPD and 6PPD-q Aquatic Life Screening Values for Freshwater

The USEPA published water quality screening values under the Clean Water Act related to short-term concentrations of 6PPD and 6PPD-quinone (6PPD-q) that Tribes, states and local governments can use to monitor their waterways. You can read more information about the screening values of acute 6PPD-q and 6PPD for freshwater, including the peer review comments and responses.

Ban on Most Uses of Methylene Chloride

In April 2024, the USEPA finalized prohibitions and workplace protections under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for methylene chloride to protect human health.

Environmental Justice Clearinghouse

A public, internet-based, whole-of-government clearinghouse composed of culturally and linguistically appropriate and accessible materials related to environmental justice.

Update to Web-based Interspecies Correlation Estimation (Web-ICE)

The Web-ICE tool serves as a New Approach Methodology useful for future Ecological Risk Assessments as animal testing is reduced and new/existing chemicals continue to be manufactured.  This publicly accessible application allows risk assessors and environmental managers from all sectors to estimate chemical toxicity to a diversity of fresh and saltwater invertebrates, fish, birds, mammals, and aquatic plants (algae) that may have limited toxicity data.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Preliminary Assessment of Environmental Impact of the Conflict in Gaza

The UN’s Preliminary Assessment of Environmental Impact of the Conflict in Gaza provides a summary of what is known about the environmental impacts of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, including impacts on environmental management and waste disposal systems; energy, fuel and associated infrastructure; destruction of buildings and conflict-related debris; marine and terrestrial environments; and air quality.

Sectoral Factsheets for Climate Change

The UN released sectoral factsheets to help build climate resilience into National Adaptation Plans for forests, transport, agriculture and food, building and construction, and energy systems.

Global Study Shows Decline Some POPs While New Ones Keep Popping Up

The UNEP study prepared under the POPs global monitoring plan confirms the global prevalence of POPs such as perfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAS) and Chlorinated Paraffins (CPs) even in remote areas, emphasizing the necessity of global monitoring to inform sound management of these pollutants. You can also read the press release.