Japan PFOA and its Salts Classified as “Class I Specified Chemical Substance” in Japan

On April 16, 2021, “Cabinet Order for Partial Revision of the Order for Enforcement of the Act on the Regulation of Manufacture and Evaluation of Chemical Substances.” was approved by the Cabinet and promulgated in the Official Gazette on April 21, 2021, designating “perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its salts” as a Class I Specified Chemical Substance under the Act. The enforcement date is October 22, 2021.

However, “PFOA – related substances” are not included in this designation. According to the schedule presented at the joint meeting on September 7, 2020, the WTO/TBT notification of the revised Cabinet Order designating “PFOA-related substances” as Class I Specified Chemical Substances is expected to be made in June 2021 or later, the revised Cabinet Order is expected to be promulgated in September 2021 or later, and the enforcement date is expected to be March 2022 or later.

What happens if a substance is classified as a “class I specified chemical substance”?

When a substance is designated as a “Class I Specified Chemical Substance,” various requirements are imposed, and businesses are required to comply. The following points can be mentioned in an attempt to sort out the issues.

  • Regulation as a substance or as a product
  • Whether the regulation applies to manufacture, import, or use
  • What about “Class I specified chemical substances that are byproducts of the manufacture of other chemical substances” and “essential uses”

Regulations on products

Article 7 of the Order for Enforcement of the Act on the Regulation of Manufacture and Evaluation of Chemical Substances, named “Products that may not be imported when a Class I Specified Chemical Substance is used” specifies, for each Class I Specified Chemical Substance, the products that may not be imported that contain it. The following is a list of products designated as “PFOA or its salts” by this Cabinet Order as products prohibited from import that contain them.

  1. paper that has been treated to provide water resistance or oil resistance
  2. fabric treated to give water repellency or oil repellency
  3. cleaning agents
  4. Anti-reflective agents used in the manufacture of semiconductors
  5. paints and varnishes
  6. water repellent and oil repellent
  7. fillers for adhesives and sealants
  8. Fire extinguishers, fire extinguishing agents, and foam extinguishing agents
  9. Toner
  10. Clothing treated to give water repellent or oil repellent properties
  11. Floor coverings treated to give water repellency or oil repellency
  12. Floor wax
  13. Photographic film for professional use