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Republic Act 6969

Discussion of RA 6969 (not yet finished)
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Jette Santos

on 9 February 2011

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Transcript of Republic Act 6969

REPUBLIC ACT 6969 Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 Long title: ACT TO CONTROL TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND HAZARDOUS AND NUCLEAR WASTES, PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Approved by the President at October 26, 1990 Objectives To keep an inventory of chemicals that are presently being imported, manufactured, or used, indicating, among others, their existing and possible uses, test data, names of firms manufacturing or using them, and such other information as may be considered relevant to the protection of health and the environment;




Definitions Chemical substance means any organic or inorganic substance of a particular molecular identity, including: i) Any combination of such substances occurring in whole or in part as a result of chemical reaction or occurring in nature; and ii) Any element or uncombined chemical.

Chemical mixture means any combination of two or more chemical substances if the combination does not occur in nature and is not, in whole or in part, the result of a chemical reaction, if none of the chemical substances comprising the combination is a new chemical substance and if the combination could have been manufactured for commercial purposes without a chemical reaction at the time the chemical substances comprising the combination were combined. This shall include non-biodegradable mixtures. Process means the preparation of a chemical substance or mixture after its manufacture for commercial distribution:
i) In the same form or physical state or in a different form or physical state from that which it was received by the person so preparing such substance or mixture; or
ii) As part of an article containing a chemical substance or mixture.

Importation means the entry of a products or substances into the Philippines (through the seaports or airports of entry) after having been properly cleared through or still remaining under customs control, the product or substance of which is intended for direct consumption, merchandising, warehousing, or for further processing. Hazardous wastes are hereby defined as substances that are without any safe commercial, industrial, agricultural or economic usage and are shipped, transported or brought from the country of origin for dumping or disposal into or in transit through any part of the territory of the Philippines. Hazardous wastes shall also refer to by-products, side-products, process residues, spent reaction media, contaminated plant or equipment or other substances from manufacturing operations, and as consumer discards of manufacture products. INTER-AGENCY TECHNICAL ADVISORY COUNCIL (Section 7) Function, Powers and Responsibilities of the DENR (Section 6) To keep an updated inventory of chemicals that are presently being manufactured or used, indicating, among others, their existing and possible uses, quality, test data, names of firms manufacturing or using them, and such other information as the Secretary may consider relevant to the protection of health and the environment;

To require chemical substances and mixtures that present unreasonable risk or injury to health or to the environment to be tested before they are manufactured or imported for the first time;

To require chemical substances and mixtures which are presently being manufactured or processed to be tested if there is a reason to believe that they pose unreasonable risk or injury to health or the environment; Functions of the Council (Section 7) To assist the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the formulation of the pertinent rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act;

To assist the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the preparation and updating of the inventory of chemical substances and mixtures that fall within the coverage of this Act;

To conduct preliminary evaluation of the characteristics of chemical substances and mixtures to determine their toxicity and effects on health and the environment and make the necessary recommendations to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; and

To perform such other functions as the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources may, from time to time, require. Pre-Manufacture and Pre-Importation Requirements (Section 8) Before any new chemical substance or mixture can be manufactured, processed or imported for the first time as determined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the manufacturer, processor or importer shall submit the following information: the name of the chemical substance or mixture; its chemical identity and molecular structure; proposed categories of use; an estimate of the amount to be manufactured, processed or imported; processing and disposal thereof; and any test data related to health and environmental effects which the manufacturer, processor or importer has. Chemicals Subject to Testing (Section 9) There is a reason to believe that the chemical substances or mixture may present an unreasonable risk to health or the environment or there may be substantial human or environmental exposure thereto;

There are insufficient data and experience for determining or predicting the health and environmental effects of the chemical substance or mixture; and

The testing of the chemical substance or mixture is necessary to develop such data.

The manufacturers, processors or importers shall shoulder the costs of testing the chemical substance or mixture that will be manufactured, processed, or imported. Chemical Substances Exempt from Pre-Manufacture Notification (Section 11) Those included in the categories of chemical substances and mixtures already listed in the inventory of existing chemicals;


Those to be produced in small quantities solely for experimental or research and developmental purposes;


Chemical substances and mixtures that will not present an unreasonable risk to health and the environment; and


Chemical substances and mixtures that exist temporarily and which have no human or environmental exposure such as those which exist as a result of chemical reaction in the manufacture or processing of a mixture of another chemical substance. Prohibited Acts (Section 13) (A) Knowingly use a chemical substance or mixture which is imported, manufactured, processed or distributed in violation of this Act or implementing rules and regulations or orders;


(B) Failure or refusal to submit reports, notices or other information, access to records, as required by this Act, or permit inspection of establishment where chemicals are manufactured, processed, stored or otherwise held;


(C) Failure or refusal to comply with the pre-manufacture and pre-importation requirements; and


(D) Cause, aid or facilitate, directly or indirectly, in the storage, importation, or bringing into Philippines territory, including its maritime economic zones, even in transit, either by means of land, air or sea transportation or otherwise keeping in storage any amount of hazardous and nuclear wastes in any part of the Philippines. Criminal Offenses and Penalties (Section 14) Every penalty imposed for the unlawful importation, entry, transport, manufacture, processing, sale or distribution of chemical substances or mixtures into or within the Philippines shall carry with it the confiscation and forfeiture in favor of the Government of the proceeds of the unlawful act and instruments, tools or other improvements including vehicles, sea vessels, and aircrafts used in or with which the offense was committed. Chemical substances so confiscated and forfeited by the Government at its option shall be turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural resources for safekeeping and proper disposal.


The person or firm responsible or connected with the bringing or importation into the country of hazardous or nuclear wastes shall be under obligation to transport or send back said prohibited wastes; Any and all means of transportation, including all facilities and appurtenances that may have been used in transporting to or in the storage in the Philippines of any significant amount of hazardous or nuclear wastes shall at the option of the government be forfeited in its favor. Philippines, according to the Greenpeace investigations in 1996, is – one of the leading destinations of scrap lead acid batteries from Australia, Canada, UK, Germany and US

Philippine Recyclers Inc.
- country’s leading scrap lead battery importer and lead smelter
- Marilao, Bulacan To monitor and regulate the importation, manufacture, processing, handling, storage, transportation, sale, distribution, use and disposal of chemical substances and mixtures that present unreasonable risk or injury to health or to the environment in accordance with national policies and international commitments; To inform and educate the populace regarding the hazards and risks attendant to the manufacture, handling, storage, transportation, processing, distribution, use and disposal of toxic chemicals and other substances and mixture; and To prevent the entry, even in transit, as well as the keeping or storage and disposal of hazardous and nuclear wastes into the country for whatever purpose. Nuclear wastes are hazardous wastes made radioactive by exposure to the radiation incidental to the production or utilization of nuclear fuels but does not include nuclear fuel, or radioisotopes which have reached the final stage of fabrication so as to be usable for any scientific, medical, agricultural, commercial, or industrial purpose. To confiscate or impound chemicals found not falling within said acts cannot be enjoined except after the chemicals have been impounded;

To monitor and prevent the entry, even in transit, of hazardous and nuclear wastes and their disposal into the country;

To subpoena witnesses and documents and to require other information if necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act; To evaluate the characteristics of chemicals that have been tested to determine their toxicity and the extent of their effects on health and the environment;

To enter into contracts and make grants for research, development, and monitoring of chemical substances and mixtures;

To conduct inspection of any establishment in which chemicals are manufactured, processed, stored or held before or after their commercial distribution and to make recommendations to the proper authorities concerned; To call on any department, bureau, office, agency, state university or college, and other instrumentalities of the Government for assistance in the form of personnel, facilities, and other resources as the need arises in the discharge of its functions;

To disseminate information and conduct educational awareness campaigns on the effects of chemical substances, mixtures and wastes on health and environment; and

To exercise such powers and perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out its duties and responsibilities under this Act. Used Lead Acid Batteries (ULABs) are considered hazardous waste by the international community.

ULABs were imported into the country in the guise of recycling.

Philippines is one of the countries where labor is cheap and enforcement of environmental regulations is poor if not altogether absent. Instead of protecting the country from the entry of hazardous wastes,RA 6969 has only served to legalize the deadly and
long-lasting pollution associated with the recycling of imported toxic wastes.

Hazardous waste recycling in developing countries can be characterized as either
sham or dirty recycling. Sham recycling occurs when exports claimed to be for
recycling are actually simply dumped in the receiving country after minimum or zero
processing. In 1996, samples collected by Greenpeace showed severe lead contamination of soil, river, sediment and vegetation around the PRI plant in Marilao, Bulacan, and in illegal
dumpsites being used by the company for the disposal of toxic residues from its recycling operations.

The importation and recycling of ULABs in the Philippines have also taken a heavy toll on the health of lead smelting plant workers and people living near the smelter.
Local residents of Barrio Patubig in Marilao, Bulacan, where the plant is situated, have complained in the past that the pollution from PRI has affected agricultural
productivity in their area. They also reported an increase in health problems in their community ranging from nausea, burning eyes, sore throat and various respiratory
ailments. According to the study conducted by the Occupational Health and Safety Center (OHSC) in 1990, workers from a battery storage company and lead smelter had "significantly higher levels of lead" in their blood compared to workers from other
industries using lead.

According to this study, the workers complained of problems ranging from fatigue,
irritability, malaise, muscle pain, joint pain, numbness, abdominal discomfort, sleep
disorder, constipation, diarrhea, anorexia and paralysis. Of the 114 workers tested in
the lead smelting plant, 92% were found to have blood lead levels exceeding 50 ug/dl.
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