Ukraine strengthens its own chemical safety and takes another step towards European integration

The Verkhovna Rada approved in the second reading a Government draft law “On Chemical Safety and Management of Chemical Products”. This is a framework European integration document that will allow Ukraine to fulfill part of its obligations under the Association Agreement with the EU, as well as to ensure protection of Ukrainians and the environment.

“Thanks to this legislative framework, we will be able to build a national chemicals management system based on the European model and implement EU technical regulations – REACH and CLP. As a result, we will have all the tools to effectively control circulation of chemical products and prevent entry of goods containing carcinogens, mutagens, bioaccumulative, toxic substances, etc. into the market. This will help protect the environment from pollution and reduce diseases associated with exposure to hazardous chemicals. At the same time, businesses will have clear rules of working according to international standards and, accordingly, access to foreign markets,” commented Ruslan Strilets, Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine.

What is the situation with regulation in Ukraine today?

Until 2014, chemicals management in Ukraine was regulated by the Government Resolution of 1995. Currently, this issue is regulated by only a few outdated regulations in force.

Extremely hazardous substances that are removed from the markets of other countries are exported to Ukraine uncontrolled. And the use of chemical products in our country often occurs without understanding their hazards. Even mercury is not de jure recognized as a hazardous chemical. Therefore, in case of improper handling or illegal use, it is quite difficult to bring a business owner to justice in practice.

Another gap is that hazard assessment of chemicals in Ukraine is carried out only in terms of their impact on human health, without taking into account risks to the environment.

How does regulation work in Europe?

In the EU, the basic legislation in this area comprises two technical regulations – REACH and CLP. The first, for instance, provides for mandatory registration of all chemicals. The main principle here is “no information about a chemical substance – no market”. CLP provides for classification of chemicals and mixtures into 27 hazard classes, as well as mandatory warning labeling and packaging requirements for chemical products, etc.

The approved framework Law “On Chemical Safety and Management of Chemical Products” creates the basis for introduction of similar modern European regulation in Ukraine.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine worked on the draft law together with experts from the Office of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine.

Read also: Ukraine creates nationwide network of sports centers for veterans and their families as part of rehabilitation of wounded defenders