Experiences on persistent organic pollutants under the Law Concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances, Japan, with references to biodegradation and bioaccumulation
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Objectives: The purpose of this report is to outline current regulations to control chemical environmental pollution in Japan, with special references to internationally defined 12 persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Materials: Law concerning the Examination and Regulation of Manufacture, etc. of Chemical Substances [(LERCS); enacted in 1973] and related administrative activities of monitoring of the environment in Japan. Results: Among the existing chemicals identified by the 1972 Chemicals Inventory, LERCS designates aldrin, chlordanes, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, HCB, PCBs, poly(Cl n ; n=3 or more)-chlorinated naphthalene (PCNs) and bis(tributyltin) oxide (TBTO) as Class 1 specified chemical substances which are under strict regulation, such as prohibition of production, import, or use in principle. In addition LERCS designates 23 Class 2 specified chemical substances (including 13 tributyltin and seven triphenyltin compounds) for which notification of scheduled and past production, compliance with technical guidelines and compliance with labeling standards is requested. When compared with the 12 POPs, the designation covers most of them except for mirex and toxaphene, which have never been used in Japan. The regulation has been effective in reducing substantially the levels of the designated chemical substances (and therefore the 12 POPs except for dioxins and furans) in the general environment in Japan. Efforts are currently focused under a newly enacted law to reduce the emission of the two non-intentionally produced pollutants of dioxins and furans, especially from city waste incinerators, so that emission in 2002 should be 10% of that in 1997. Conclusion: Regulations to control chemical emissions have been effective in reducing POPs levels in the environment in Japan, and further efforts have been made under a new law to reduce the emission of dioxins, furans and co-planar PCBs.
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