Wed, Aug 30, 2006 - Page 3 News List

New regulations for batteries to come into force soon

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced yesterday that batteries containing mercury levels exceeding legal standards will be banned starting next month.

Chang Hsu-chang (張旭彰), spokesman for the EPA's waste management department, said that its surveys showed that more than 40 percent of batteries on the market exceeded the government standard and a majority of these were imported from China or other unidentified sources.

Chang said the mercury contained in these batteries could cause severe damage to the environment. He said a regular battery buried in the ground, for example, could contaminate one square meter of soil.

"And just one lithium corn cell [the type of batteries used in calculators] can contaminate up to 600 tonnes of water, equivalent to the amount of water consumed by a person in a whole lifetime," he said.

Chang said that these batteries often came with toys, home appliances and stationery, and are mostly sold in places such as night markets and hypermarkets.

The administration would boost inspections in these locations after the policy takes effect next month, he said.

The policy will be executed in three stages.

Starting from next month, all batteries sold on the market will have to secure prior approval from the EPA and the mercury content must not exceed 5 parts per million (ppm).

From December, the administration will require all battery manufacturers to put labels on their products stating that the mercury content falls within the required range, except batteries that were already on the market before next month.

All battery packaging must show mercury content information starting from next month.

Contamination concerns

* From next month, the EPA will ban batteries that contain mercury exceeding the government standard.

* EPA surveys show that more than 40 percent of batteries on the market exceed that standard.

* Under new rules, all batteries sold on the market will need to first gain the approval of the EPA.

* Retailers, manufacturers and importers that violate the new regulations will face fines.

The EPA estimates that more than 90 percent of batteries sold in Taiwan will be regulated by the new policy.

Retailers who violate the regulation will be fined between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000.

But manufacturers and importers of illegal batteries will be fined NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 and the administration can demand the products be removed immediately from store shelves.

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