Civic groups yesterday said the Cabinet’s draft of a toxic chemical substances control act is vague and full of loopholes and that a review of the bill at the legislature today should be suspended.
At a joint press conference yesterday, seven civic groups asked the government to modify its proposal to include full-scale management of toxic chemicals and compulsory disclosure of information to the public.
“The Environmental Protection Administration has listed 302 types of chemicals that are to be controlled, but if it loses control of the use of just one toxic chemical, it could affect thousands of products,” said Gaston Wu (吳家誠), a professor of chemistry at National Taiwan Normal University, noting that regulation of the approximately 79,000 types of chemical used in Taiwan is “full of loopholes” and that consumers “do not feel safe.”
Homemakers United Foundation president Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) said as a consumer and mother she is concerned about incomplete information on products and the inability to tell whether the chemical substances used as ingredients or components in products are harmful.
Each chemical substance should have only one official Chinese name so that companies cannot use different names to conceal harmful ingredients in their products, Wu said, adding that much of the information printed on products is too vague, for example using “lavender fragrance” rather than the more than 20 chemical substances used to make it.
“If the government allows manufacturers to use ‘commercially confidential information’ as an excuse for not revealing all the chemicals in products, then who is going to protect companies’ employees from long-term exposure to toxic chemicals?” said Yang Kuo-chen (楊國楨), a member of the Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Accidents and Diseases, adding that the act should require companies to list all the chemicals used in their products.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37