21 Mar 2024

Regulatory Review: February–March 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].


Threatened and Endangered Species
The Threatened Species Scientific Committee is seeking comments on the assessment of two marine fish species: Centroberyx affinis (redfish) and Thunnus maccoyii (southern bluefin tuna). The public consultation period will be open until 3 May.

Australia to Establish a New Commonwealth Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Australia is expected to issue new legislation to establish the Commonwealth EPA, which will be responsible for: 

  • Issuing permits and licenses
  • Project assessments, decisions and post-approvals
  • Education, compliance and enforcement
  • Assuring states, territories and other Commonwealth decision makers apply National Environmental Standards (also under development) under accredited arrangements

China Ministry of Ecology and Environment

China MEE, and five other departments, issued an implementation plan for “collecting and promoting key low-carbon technologies.”

Read China Dialogue’s recent analysis on Greening China’s heavy industry.

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

ECHA is considering recommending the following substances for the REACH Authorisation List:

  • Melamine
  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate covering any of the individual isomers and/or combinations thereof (TBPH)
  • S-(tricyclo[ 2,6]deca-3-en-8(or 9)-yl) O-(isopropyl or isobutyl or 2-ethylhexyl) O-(isopropyl or isobutyl or 2-ethylhexyl) phosphorodithioate
  • Diphenyl(2,4,6-trimethylbenzoyl)phosphine oxide
  • Barium diboron tetraoxide

ECHA is looking for further information on the uses of these substances in scope of authorization, their possible exemptions from the authorization requirement, and on the structure and complexity of the supply chains.

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

Indigenous Climate Action
The government of Canada supports Indigenous climate action with new funding stream under the Indigenous Leadership Fund. The designated funding stream is open until 31 March 2027 for eligible applicants who are not already included in the funding streams for First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

Environmentally Sound Management of Chemical Substances in the Chemicals, Plastics and Rubber Sectors
Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, comments have been compiled and the code of practice for the environmentally sound management of chemicals in the chemicals, plastics and rubber sectors was released.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

PFASs and Alternatives in Cosmetics
The OECD, in it’s series on Risk Management, released a report on the commercial availability and current uses of PFASs and alternatives in cosmetics.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)

Cleaner Vehicles
USEPA announced final national pollution standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032 and beyond. The final standards deliver on the significant pollution reductions, while accelerating the adoption of cleaner vehicle technologies.

Asbestos Ban
The USEPA announced a final rule to prohibit ongoing uses of chrysotile asbestos, the only known form of asbestos currently used in or imported to the U.S. The ban on ongoing uses of asbestos is the first rule to be finalized under the 2016 amendments to the nation’s chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Ethylene Oxide (EtO) Commercial Sterilization Facilities
USEPA announced a rule that will reduce lifetime cancer risks for people living near commercial sterilization facilities across the country. The final amendments to the air toxics standards for ethylene oxide commercial sterilization facilities put in place the strongest measures in U.S. history to reduce emissions of EtO. Through the installation of proven and achievable air pollution controls, commercial sterilizers will reduce emissions by more than 90%. 

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

United Nations Environment Assembly
The sixth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), held in Nairobi, Kenya, aimed to boost multilateral efforts to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution. The UNEA-6 resolutions advanced the work of member states on management of metals, mineral resources, chemicals and waste; environmental assistance and recovery in areas impacted by armed conflict; integrated water resource management in the domestic sector, agriculture and industry to tackle water stress; sustainable lifestyles; on rehabilitation of degraded lands and waters; and more.