NA Members Want New Law on Chemicals to Be Stricter


Stipulations in the draft Law on the Management of Chemicals remain weak and will not prevent the continuing unregulated use of the substances throughout the country, NA members have said.

Almost all members of the National Assembly (NA) who participated in the debate on the newly drafted law at the NA session yesterday expressed this concern.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce introduced the draft to the NA for consideration yesterday with the hope that its approval and promulgation will help the systematic management of chemicals.

The newly drafted law, which contains some 81 articles, will also set out provisions for the importation, exportation, transit, use, production, liquidation or treatment of chemical substances.

Articles 9 to 14 describe the classification and characteristics of chemicals, dividing them into four separate categories.

According to this law, the chemicals in the first category are very highly poisonous and dangerous, potentially having severe effects on health, life, property and the environment.

Those in the second category are also highly poisonous and pose a danger to health, life, property and the environment.

Chemicals in the third category are moderately poisonous and dangerous to health, life, property and the environment.

Meanwhile, chemicals in the fourth category are somewhat poisonous and dangerous to health, life, property and the environment.

The chemicals in the first category will not be permitted for trade and use. They will however be allowed to be used for studies, technological development, protection, prevention, liquidation and for stopping dangers to human and environmental health, or properties.

NA member for Luang Namtha province Ms Kesone Sengyavong said she wanted the level of poison and danger in each category to be determined if there is a measurement or unit for their identification.

Speaking at the debate, NA member for Xieng Khuang province, Mr Vilaysouk Phimmasone reminded the session about the dangers of chemicals and global trends of avoiding the use of such substances.

He gave his view on the draft to the law, which in his opinion appears to leave the door open for the use of most categories of chemicals rather than limiting their proliferation within the country.

Mr Vilaysouk said he wanted chemical substances in the first, second and third categories to be put under the management of the government, not allowing individuals, or legal entities to trade or use chemicals with the exception of cooperation projects between them and the government.

He also reminded the audience about the spreading use of herbicides, insecticides, and even highly toxic substances containing mercury and cyanide for cultivation and gold extraction.

Mr Vilaysouk told the meeting about the situation in his province, where he said the unregulated use of herbicides is causing many people to fall and die from misunderstanding and carelessness.

He asked the drafting sub-committee to make the law designed to limit the spread of chemicals.

The NA members asked the drafting sub-committee to make many points in this law clearer, suggesting that alternatively, specific second legislative regulations should be drafted to give more detailed descriptions to the articles which stipulate the classification and characteristics of chemical substances, and prohibitions, for example.

Source: Vientiane Times