In response to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (hereinafter referred to as the Stockholm Convention) adding perfluorohexane sulfonic acid and its salts and related compounds to its list of controlled substances, the EPA has amended the Regulated Toxic Chemical Substances and Their Operations and Management (列管毒性化學物質及其運作管理事項). Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid and its salts and related compounds have been classified as toxic chemical substances, and operation and management regulations have been established to strengthen the management of such substances in Taiwan.
Persistent organic pollutants possess characteristics such as being difficult to break down, having long-range transport capabilities, and bioaccumulation, which pose a health risk to living organisms. In response to this, the United Nations established the Stockholm Convention to eliminate, restrict, and reduce persistent organic pollutants, so as to safeguard human health and the environment. This preannouncement was in line with the addition of perfluorohexane sulfonic acid and its salts and related compounds to the Stockholm Convention, and took the directive list provided by the Stockholm Convention as reference. It added Annex 1 to Paragraph 1 of the announcement, which specifies the regulatory scope, encompassing 147 types of perfluorohexane sulfonic acid and its salts and related compounds, aligning with international control measures.
Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid and its salts and related compounds were added to Annex A (elimination list) of the Stockholm Convention in 2022. Due to their environmental persistence and bioaccumulation characteristics, they fall under Category 1 toxic chemicals as defined by the Toxic and Concerned Chemical Substances Control Act . As a result, they have been classified as Category 1 toxic chemicals, with control concentration set at the full concentration. In accordance with the Convention's provisions, their use is comprehensively prohibited except for purposes such as research, testing, and education. Additionally, control concentrations for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, lithium perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride, and perfluorooctanoic acid have been simultaneously adjusted from 0.01% to full concentration.
The EPA has investigated the usage of perfluorohexane sulfonic acid and its salts, as well as related compounds by domestic enterprises and found that these substances are primarily employed for research, experimentation, education, with no other complicated purposes. The impact of the amendment on Taiwan’s industry is quite limited.
For the handling of perfluorohexane sulfonic acid and its salts and related compounds involving requirements such as permit applications, labeling, transportation, detection and alarm equipment, professional technical management personnel, and the establishment of professional response personnel, businesses have been granted a phased implementation buffer period of six months to one and a half years.
Furthermore, for the handling of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, lithium perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorooctanoyl fluoride, and perfluorooctanoic acid when their concentrations do not exceed 0.01%, involving requirements such as permit applications, hazard prevention, and response regulations, businesses have also been granted a phased implementation buffer period of six months to one and a half years.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, July 2023
- Ministry of Environment