There is no chemical regulation in Mexico. In 2019, the General Health Council (CGS) proposed the Comprehensive National Policy for the Management of Chemical Substances. CHS’s proposal intended to put the burden of proof on companies to show that substances are safe; enable authorities to impose restrictions and bans on chemicals after an assessment; to impose obligations on producers or importing companies to provide regular information, etc. Expected to be submitted to Congress in 2020 and be approved by 2021, the bill is delayed.
In a significant move towards environmental sustainability, Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has taken a proactive stance by introducing a draft technical standard aimed at regulating the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in production processes and auxiliary services. Published on July 17th, this standard signifies a crucial effort to curb pollution and mitigate the adverse effects of VOC emissions on both human health and the environment.
VOCs are a diverse group of carbon-based chemicals that can evaporate into the air and pose a significant threat to air quality. They are emitted from a range of sources including industrial processes, vehicle exhaust, and the use of solvents and paints. Once released into the atmosphere, VOCs can contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and smog, both of which have been linked to respiratory issues and other health concerns.
The newly proposed draft standard lays out a comprehensive framework that industries operating within Mexico would need to adhere to, emphasizing the importance of reducing VOC emissions to safeguard public health and the environment. The heart of this standard lies in establishing annual threshold limits for various sectors operating in the country. These limits, measured in tonnes, would serve as a clear metric for industries to gauge their emission levels against.
However, merely setting limits is not the only aspect of the standard. The proposed framework goes beyond quantitative restrictions and delves into requiring industries to provide a comprehensive set of information to regulatory authorities. This information includes the list of equipment or activities emitting VOCs, technical specifications, functionality within the production process or auxiliary service, annual operating hours, and the list of solvents used along with their detailed chemical information.
Moreover, the draft standard acknowledges the importance of transparency and accountability. Industries falling within the ambit of this regulation would need to maintain an operations and maintenance log that documents daily and annual consumption of VOCs. These logs not only ensure consistent tracking of emissions but also serve as tangible records for monitoring compliance over time.
One notable aspect of the proposed standard is its forward-looking perspective. The authorities have recognized that emission reduction is a journey, not an instantaneous achievement. Therefore, the standard mandates industries exceeding the established emission thresholds to develop and implement a schedule outlining specific actions to reduce their VOC emissions. This provision aligns well with the global trend towards sustainable industrial practices and acknowledges that emission reduction is often a phased process that requires careful planning and execution.
Crucially, the Mexican government has also recognized the importance of public participation in shaping environmental policies. The draft standard is open for public consultation, inviting input and feedback from stakeholders and citizens alike. This inclusive approach ensures that the regulations are well-rounded, practical, and sensitive to the needs and concerns of various sectors of society.
For those interested in contributing, the window for submitting comments is open until September 15th.
Mexico's Federal Commission Against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) has taken a significant step in ensuring the safe management and tracking of chemical precursors and essential chemicals within the country. The introduction of the online Integral System for Chemical Substances (SISUS) marks a crucial milestone in regulating the movement of these substances and promoting public health and safety.
Earlier this year, Mexico made a groundbreaking change to its laws by establishing the Integral System for Chemical Substances (SISUS). The primary goal of SISUS is to enable better tracking and control of chemical precursors and essential chemicals, which are often used in the production of various goods, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and industrial products. These substances, if not appropriately managed, could pose health and security risks, leading to potential hazards like drug production and illicit activities.
To ensure the seamless functioning of SISUS, the Mexican government now requires companies to report each shipment involving these regulated substances within 24 hours of their movement. This stringent regulation aims to prevent the misuse and illicit distribution of these chemicals, ultimately safeguarding public health and national security.
Third Round of Registrations: A Key Step Towards Full Implementation
While the SISUS platform is not yet fully operational, Mexico's government is committed to moving forward with its implementation. As part of the full implementation plan, COFEPRIS is conducting the third round of registrations for companies to become registered entities within the SISUS platform. This means that companies actively involved in handling chemical precursors and essential chemicals in Mexico must register themselves in the SISUS database.
By mandating registration, the Mexican government aims to create a comprehensive database of companies dealing with these substances, facilitating improved monitoring and tracking capabilities. This database will provide authorities with real-time information on the movement and usage of regulated chemicals, empowering them to respond swiftly to potential threats and enforce necessary safety measures.
Companies' Obligations and Responsibilities
For companies involved in the production, import, export, or distribution of chemical precursors and essential chemicals in Mexico, registration in the SISUS platform is no longer optional; it is an imperative regulatory requirement. Failure to comply with this mandate could result in severe penalties, including fines and potential business disruptions.
Companies that have not been covered by the first two rounds of registrations should closely monitor COFEPRIS's announcements for the release of the new list of companies identified for registration in this third round. It is crucial to remain proactive and initiate the registration process promptly to ensure compliance with the new regulations.
The introduction of Mexico's online Integral System for Chemical Substances (SISUS) represents a crucial step towards ensuring the safe and responsible management of chemical precursors and essential chemicals within the country. As COFEPRIS conducts its third round of registrations for companies, it is essential for relevant entities to take immediate action and comply with the new regulations to avoid penalties and ensure the seamless functioning of the SISUS platform. Ultimately, the successful implementation of SISUS will contribute to a safer, more secure, and healthier environment for Mexico and its citizens.
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