Japan: 18 New Chemicals Listed as Health Risks

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By Toshio Aritake

July 22—Japan has added 18 new chemicals to the 232 substances already designated as potential risks under the occupational safety law in an effort to prevent potential worker exposure to substances suspected of being carcinogenic or having endocrine-disrupting or nerve-damaging properties, the Health Ministry said.

The additional 18 chemicals, which are annually used in excess of 500 tons each in Japan, were added to the risk evaluation substance list July 14, a ministry official said.

The substances include acetone cyanohydrin (nerve poisoning), 2-chloronitrobenzene (carcinogenic), ethanol (nerve poisoning), 2-4-6-trichlorophenol (carcinogenic) and hydroquinone (nerve poisoning).

The ministry has assessed chemical risks to human health almost every year since 2006 and identified 232 chemicals, now 250—including formaldehyde, bromoethylene and acetaldehyde—as risk evaluation substances under Japan's Labor Safety Sanitation Law and in consultations with the International Agency for Research on Cancer or the European Union.

Employers have not reported to the government serious worker exposures to the newly included substances, the ministry official added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Toshio Aritake in Tokyo at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at ghenderson@bna.com

For More Information

For more information on Japanese HR law and regulation, see the Japan primer.

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