What is China REACH
The “Measures for the Environmental Management of New Chemical Substances" (MEP Order 7) is a revision of the 2003 legislation on China new chemical substance notification (China NCSN). It was enacted by China MEP on 15 Oct 2010. This REACH-style legislation adopts several of the same principles and concepts of the EU REACH, and thus has been dubbed "China REACH", even though only new chemical substances are regulated, compared with EU REACH. Despite dispute over the justification of its nickname, "China REACH" is widely adopted in the industry.
This webpage is designed as a navigator for non-Chinese companies wishing to comply with China NCSN (a.k.a. China REACH).
* Note: On April 29, 2020, China’s MEE published the amendments of the Measures for the Environmental Management of New Chemical Substances (MEP Order 7 of 2010). It is renamed as the Measures for the Environmental Management Registration of New Chemical Substances (MEE Order 12 of 2020), which will come into force on January 1, 2021.The supporting documents will be updated to align with the revised Measures, including the Guidance and the relevant forms.
ChemLinked has summarized the major amendments compared with the current MEP Order 7. Please click here to read more.
Substances to be Notified under China REACH
China REACH requires notification of “new” chemical substances in China. A new substance is any chemical substance that is not included in the Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances in China. (IECSC).
Categories of exemption from notification include
Finished products subject to other existing laws and regulations (pharmaceuticals, pesticides, veterinary medicines, cosmetics, foodstuffs, food additives, feed and feed additives, radioactive materials, military products, explosives, tobacco, etc.);
Naturally occurring substances;
Substances of non-commercial purpose or non-intentional produced, e.g. impurities (content of a single impurity<10%w/w, total content of all impurities<20%w/w), waste or by-products, etc.;
Special categories such as glass, cement, alloys, non-isolated intermediates, articles.
China New Chemical Substance Notification involves national and local enforcement authorities as well as other interested stakeholders. These include the notifiers, only representatives (OR), Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), the Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center (SCC) , local authorities of environmental protection at province/city/county level (local authorities), and etc.
Notifiers: new substance manufacturers or importers in China mainland, and non-Chinese companies exporting new chemical substance to China (hereafter referred to as “non-Chinese exporters”)
Representative agents: Appointed by the non-Chinese exporters with a similar role to “Only Representative” under EU REACH, often known as China-based “Only Representative” or “Only Representative”-like agent (hereafter referred to as “OR”)
Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) is the policy maker of MEP Order 7, in charge of the macro-control on the environmental management of China new chemical substances. MEP was disbanded and replaced by a new ministry called the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) in March 2018. The future regulation on new chemicals notification will appear as MEE order.
Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center (SCC): A supporting sub-institute of MEP, working on the daily administration of China REACH, involved in the reception and processing of dossiers submitted by notifiers, etc.
Evaluation Committee: responsible for the scientific reviewing and evaluation of China REACH dossiers (mainly Regular Notification); 100 external experts are employed on a three-year term, who are mainly selected from the testing and academic institutes in the fields of chemistry, chemical, toxicological, environmental science and chemical safety assessment, etc. The name list is confidential. Please find more details of the "Evaluation Committee" in ChemLinked Expert Article
Local authorities: responsible for the supervision of new chemical substance management within its own administrative regions; including tracking management of the notified new chemical substances and supervision on risk control measures and administrative requirements specified on the registration certificate, etc.
Testing institutes: Both the Chinese domestic and overseas institutes can produce data for China REACH with some qualification conditions. However, some of the eco-toxicity tests need to be conducted on Chinese test organisms in accredited Chinese laboratories.
New substances manufactured or imported in China need to be notified with the authority prior to entering the Chinese market. Companies are not permitted to engage in manufacturing or import activities without first obtaining a registration certificate.
Chinese manufacturers and importers shall directly perform the China new chemical substance notification
Non-Chinese exporters are not allowed to notify directly but are rather required to appoint OR to complete the notification on their behalf. A Chinese importer can also notify, thereby relieving its foreign supplier of its notification obligations. Companies based in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are also regarded as non-Chinese notifiers.
Accredited Testing Institutes
The qualification of testing institutes to provide data for the notification dossier under China NCSN has always been a major concern for notifiers domestic as well as overseas. Although the new chemical substance notification recognizes data from both Chinese and non-Chinese testing organizations, Article 10 (3) of MEP Order No.7 stresses that an eco-toxicological test report for Regular Notification under China NCSN must include data generated by MEP-approved testing institutes in China (mainland).
A non-Chinese laboratory has to pass the inspection of the country where it is based or follow the GLP standards of the United Nations. Chinese laboratories have more specific requirements, which should be qualified with the following credentials as shown below.
Laboratory Accreditation Certificate issued by China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS)
Metrology Accreditation Certificate (national level) issued by Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA)
Pesticide GLP Certificate issued by Ministry of Agriculture (MOA, now replaced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs)
pharmaceutical nonclinical study GLP certificate issued by SFDA (renamed as CFDA in 2013, now replaced by the State Administration for Market Regulation)
Certification of Occupational Health Service for Chemical Toxicity Testing issued by Ministry of Health (MOH，replaced by the Health and Family Planning Commission in 2013, now replaced by the National Health Commission)
GLP Compliance Statement issued by CNAS
From 1 Apr 2017, only the institutes listed on the SCC management platform are accredited to provide eco-toxicological testing data (ChemLinked News). The test items already entrusted to the previous MEP-GLP approved 13 institutes will not be affected.
Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances - IECSC
Fig. 1 - IECSC Comprehensive Search
The Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances in China (IECSC) contains:
all existing chemical substances manufactured, processed, sold, used or imported inside mainland China between 1 January 1992 and 15 October 2003; and
new chemical substances that were notified previously and five years have passed since they were first manufactured or imported
Chemical substances not listed in IECSC are identified as new chemical substances under China new chemical substance notification. On Jan 30th 2013, China MEP issued the 2013 version of the Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances in China (IECSC 2013 in PDF) which contains 45,612 substances. It is dynamically updated since more and more notified new chemical substances are qualified for listing into the inventory. So far, in total four batches of 151 qualified new substances were added to IECSC 2013, including
In addition, MEE reopened the supplementation of IECSC in June 2019, which was concluded on Sep 30, 2019. The first batch of 156 substances, which fulfilled the IECSC supplementation criteria but missed the previous supplementation window were added into the IECSC on May 6, 2020.
The Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances (IECSC) in China serves as the basis to judge whether a substance is identified as new chemical substance subject to China REACH. Therefore, confirmation of whether the substance in your product falls under IECSC is essential before your entering the Chinese market.
ChemLinked has incorporated the IECSC into the free online ChemLinked Inventory Toolbox, where you can search by inputting the substance CAS number or full English/Chinese name. However, as some confidential substances are not accessible, it does not necessarily mean the substance is a new chemical substance in China if no match is found through the online search. It is recommended to apply for an IECSC comprehensive search (3,000 RMB per substance charged by the authority) to verify the substance of your concern is deemed as new chemical substance to avoid unnecessary notification work.
IECSC Inclusion of New Chemical Substance
Substances notified under Simplified Notifications or Scientific Research Record Notifications cannot be listed in the IECSC. Notifiers who have completed Regular Notifications and received registration certificates should take careful note of several timelines for inclusion of their substances into IECSC based on the environmental management category of the substance.
A new general substance: registered under Regular Notification will be listed into the IECSC at least 5 years from the first date of its manufacturing or import.
A new hazardous substance or hazardous substance with priority environmental concern: These substances must be notified under Regular Notification and are required of reporting to the SCC of all activities submitted by the registration certificate holder within 6 months prior to the end of the five-year period from the first date of their manufacturing or import. After that, a revaluation on the substance hazard information will be conducted by the evaluation committee. It is ultimately up to the MEE to incorporate the substance into IECSC based on the findings of the evaluation committee.
For procedure for adding notified new chemical substances into the IECSC, please refer to the form attached on the right (Fig 4).
When the notified new substance gets listed in the IECSC, it will be exempted from stringent supervision since there is significantly less management over existing chemical substances. Only when it is listed into other inventories according to its hazard and risk properties, such as C&L inventory, Inventory of Chinese Highly Toxic Chemicals, etc., the chemical substance will be subject to the stricter supervision according to certain categories of China’s existing chemical management regime.
How to Comply
Notification Types and Procedures
Fig. 4 - Notification Procedure of China REACH
Fig. 5 - Approval Procedure of China REACH
There are three types of notification under NCSN, depending on the purpose of manufacture/import and the quantities.
Scientific Research Record Notification:
Scientific Research Record has the lowest requirements among all the three notification types. To apply for a scientific research record, your substance should be manufactured/imported:
for the purpose of scientific research and development (R&D), in very low quantities (<0.1 tonne per annum), or
as samples used for a compulsory eco-tox test that must be performed in a verified Chinese laboratory (which is also viewed as the prerequisite to the Regular Notification for imported new substances).
Simplified Notification applies for tonnage quantities<1 tonne per annum. There are special cases of Simplified Notification, by applying for which substances have less registration requirements than the general case of simplified notification.
General Case: Manufactured/imported in quantities < 1 tonne per annum.
Intermediates manufactured/imported < 1 tonne per annum) (“Intermediate”);
Only for the purpose of exporting from China, in quantities < 1 tonne per annum (“Manufacture for Export Only”);
Classified as the polymers of low concern (“Polymers of Low Concern”);
Polymers with low new chemical substance concentration of monomer which are (<2 % w/w) (“New Chemical Substance Monomer<2%”);
For the purpose of scientific research and development, in quantities of 0.1-1 tonne (not included) per annum (“Scientific Research”);
For the purpose of product research or process technology <10 tonnes per annum for less than 2 years (“PPORD”).
The general case of Regular Notification applies to tonnage quantities > 1 tonnes per annum. There are four tonnage bands:
Band 1: 1-10 tonnes per annum
Band 2: 10-100 tonnes per annum
Band 3: 100-1000 tonnes per annum
Band 4: 1000+ tonnes per annum
Fig. 6 - Data Requirements for China REACH
Under China REACH, the minimum data requirements vary for different notification types and tonnage bands. The tests involve physico-chemical, toxicological and eco-toxicological testing.
Some eco-toxicological testing is required to be carried out using Chinese target organisms within Chinese territory in qualified Chinese testing institutes.
Scientific Research Record Notification (SRRN): This is the simplest form of notification and requires minimum information.
Simplified Notification: For the general case of simplified registration, eco-toxicological testing is required, which is dependent on the nature and properties of the substance. For example, if the substance is organic, the ready biodegradability of the substance would be required. For the case of an inorganic substance, a report of the acute aquatic organism toxicity is required. No eco-toxicological data is required for the special cases of Simplified Notification.
Regular Notification: For Regular Notification, the ‘Tonnage principle’ (Article 11 of the "Measures") applies which requires more data as the tonnage band increases. The amount of physico-chemical testing is the same for all tonnage bands and the testing required depends on the physical state of the substance (solid, liquid or gas). The tonnage principle generally applies for the toxicological and eco-toxicological testing. For example, the number of eco- and toxicological tests for tonnage Band 4 are more than double of those required for tonnage Band 1. Classification & Labelling of the substance according to GHS criteria is a necessity. A risk assessment report may also be required.
For specific physico-chemical, toxicological and eco-toxicological testing requirements, pls click here to read more (updated on 15 Oct 2017).
NCSN adopts different management requirements for different categories of new substances. New chemical substances registered for Regular Notification will be divided in three environmental management categories following the expert panel's evaluation. They are the "general chemical substance", "hazardous chemical substance" and "hazardous chemical substance of priority environmental concern", respectively.
Fig. 7 - Post-Notification Duties
If you have submitted a Scientific Research Record Notification (SRRN), you should
Manage the notified substance by using the specialized facilities and under the guidance of professional personnel;
Apply the regulations on dangerous waste when disposing of the new substances under SRRN.
If you have submitted a Simplified Notification (SN), you should perform a yearly checkup to
Report to competent authorities the activities of the registered substance over the past year;
Keep relevant documentation materials over 10 years.
If you have submitted a Regular Notification (RN), you should:
In the case of a general new chemical substance (general category):
Identify the hazard information in the MSDS of the substance and communicate it to its processers and downstream users;
Exercise risk control measures indicated in the registration certificate;
Inform competent authorities of its first-time activity report;
Keep relevant documentation materials over 10 years;
Avoid transferring or selling in any way your registered substance to a third processing or using unit who is unable to take effective risk control measures (Article 33);
Informing competent authorities about the newly arising hazard or risk information of the registered substance;
Apply the regulations on dangerous waste when disposing of the new substances.
In the case of a hazardous new chemical substance (hazard category), besides the above 7 requirements in "general category":
Report to competent authorities the activities of the registered substance over the past year;
Comply with the State Council Decree No. 591 and other related laws, which is also applicable to the substance processors and downstream users;
Submit a 5-year activity report before inclusion of the registered substance into IECSC
In the case of a hazardous new chemical substance of priority environmental concern (environmental priority category), besides the above 10 requirements provided in "hazardous category":
Have competence in monitoring emissions and management of environmental impact.
Report to competent authorities the transferring information of the registered substance;
Report to competent authorities your next year's plan of the manufacture/import of registered substance.
Re-notify the substance in case of change of registered usages
The total cost for China NCSN consists of three major parts, namely the administration fee, the testing fee and the consulting fee.
Fig. 8 - Cost of China REACH
Administrative fee: According to current regulations, application and evaluation for China NCSN or issuance of registration certificate requires no administration fee. A comprehensive inquiry with the SCC-MEP to confirm whether the substance is new and subject to China NCSN costs 3,000 Yuan.
Consulting fee: The consulting fee will be charged by the OR-like representative mainly for the preparation of dossiers and the fulfillment of post-notification obligations, e.g. preparation of risk assessment report and annual report, etc.
Testing fee: The notifying companies still need to take account of their own capital investment on notification dossiers preparation, especially the test data production. The testing fee accounts for a large proportion of the total costs, compared with the administrative fee and consulting fee. The higher the tonnage band, the more test data is required. However, some testing items can be exempted through data gap analysis, e.g. the soil & sludge adsorption coefficient estimation is usually considered a prior determinant for whether the two eco-toxicological tests (the earthworm acute toxicity test or the seed germination & root elongation toxicity test) can be exempted from the Regular Notification.
Notifiers of General Case of Simplified Notification and Regular Notification are required to submit the domestically generated eco-toxicological testing data in their dossier. Compared with the eco-toxicological testing fee charged by the international OECD testing institutions, the quotations of domestic testing institutions are still comparatively low. However, China is not an OECD member country and the eco-toxicological testing data produced by MEP-approved testing institutions will not be accepted for chemical regulations in other countries, i.e. EU REACH, USA TSCA, etc.
ChemLinked provides English translation of the relevant regulations and documents, including:
Measures for the Environmental Management Registration of New Chemical Substances (MEE Order No.12) (to be implemented from 2021)
Please click here to explore more in our EBOOK STORE.
China REACH Statistics
From 2011 to 2016, MEP has approved 5,864 Scientific Research Record Notifications, 16,887 Special Case of Simplified Notifications, 2,334 General Case of Simplified Notifications, and 513 Regular Notifications. Besides, China MEP also approved several applications for the modification of the registration certificates in the past years. If you want to have the newest statistics report please contact us.
Below is a chart which offers a graphical representation of the number of new chemical notification numbers approved in the last eight years (from 2011 to 2018).
· 27 Jun 2019 China Opens IECSC Supplementation
· 18 Jan 2019 Shanghai Concludes 2018 New Chemical Inspection Campaign
· 30 Oct 2018 China MEE Publishes New Chemical Notification Statistics
· 26 Apr 2018 China New Chemical Substances Notification Progress
· 30 Sep 2017 Charge Reduced for New Chemical Substance Inquiry
· 16 Mar 2016 China IECSC: 31 Substances Supplemented
· 10 Feb 2015 China MEP Approved 2 New NCSN GLP Labs
· 17 Oct 2014 China NCSN Draft Guidelines in Final Stages
· 29 Jul 2014 China Releases IECSC Inclusion Procedures
· 15 Oct 2013 Gobiocypris Rarus Adopted as Eco-Tox Test Model Species
· 16 Jul 2013 China to Launch Procedures for IECSC Inclusion
· 14 Nov 2012 CRC-MEP Updated FAQs on China NCSN
1. Nadine He, 1 Feb 2019 "Industry Concerns over China’s Draft Regulation on Chemical Assessment and Control"
2. Matt Lyu, 2 Oct 2018 "Shanghai New Chemical Inspection 2018"
3. Nadine He, 29 Aug 2017 "Amendments on Data Requirements for China New Chemical Notification"
4. Nadine He, 19 Apr 2017 "Shanghai New Chemical Supervision"
5. Nadine He, 27 Oct 2016 "China Considers Data Reduction for New Chemical Notification"
6. Nadine He, 16 Jul 2015 "China New Chemical Substance Notifictaion Guidance: Comparative Analysis of Current Version and Pending Draft"
8. Nadine He, 17 Dec 2014 "The Working of China's NCSN Expert Evaluation Committee"
9. Jim Wei, 16 Dec 2014 "Chinese Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals-Health Effect"
10. Chen Ying, 4 Aug 2014 "China NCSN: Notification of Mixtures"
11. Shawn Xiang, 26 Dec 2013 "Notification of Inorganic Compound under China REACH"
14. Renee Liang & Nadine He, 14 Oct 2013 "Seminar on China NCSN - Management and Administration"
15. Alva Chen, 12 Oct 2013 "Seminar on China NCSN - Toxicology"
16. Collin Yan, 12 Oct 2013 "Seminar on China NCSN - Ecotoxicology and Risk Assessment
17. Rita Qiu, 1 Jul 2013 "Overview of China GLP System"
18. Mary Lin, 8 Jan 2013 "Is General Case of Simplified Notification Simple?"
19. Martin Hu, 23 Nov 2012 "Guidance for the Plant Extract Manufacturers/Importers to Comply with China REACH"
20. Anthea Zhou, 19 Nov 2012 "Information Publicity and Confidentiality under China NCSN and EU REACH"
21. Olivia Sun, 14 Nov 2012 "Is Short-term Toxicity to Earthworm Test Conducted in China a Must?"
22. Collin Yuan, 17 Oct 2012 "Are Reasons for 'No Classification' under China REACH Equal to CLP Regulation?"
23. Lizzy Liu, 12 Sep 2012 "China REACH FAQs"
24. Martin Hu, 4 Sep 2012 "How to Apply Generic Names in Your China New Substance Notification
25. Lizzy Liu, 18 Jun 2012 Challenges of Joint Notification under China New Chemical Substance Notification (NCSN)
26. Olivia Sun, 25 May 2012 "'China REACH' Typical Case Studies"
27. Lizzy Liu, 25 Apr 2012 "Case Study: Exemptions Under China REACH"
28. Lizzy Liu, 21 March 2012 "Case Study On Data Requirements Under China REACH"
29. Linda Li, 20 Oct 2011 "Preparing Risk Assessment Reports for China REACH"
30. Martin Hu, 11 May 2011 "Guidance for 'China REACH': Focus on New Chemical Substances"
31. Lizzy Liu, 29 March 2011 "New Chemical Substance Notification in China (China REACH)"
32. Jim Wei, 8 Feb 2011 "Overview of China New Chemical Substance Notification (China REACH)"
33. Lizzy Liu, 5 Feb 2011 "What Is the Scope of China REACh?"
34. Lizzy Liu, 10 Nov 2010 "Data Requirements under China REACH and EU REACH: What are the Similarities and the Differences?"
35. Lizzy Liu, 6 Oct 2010 "Data Requirements under China REACH"
36. Lizzy Liu, 5 Aug 2010 "IECSC Search under China REACH"
37. Lizzy Liu, 5 Aug 2010 "What is 'China REACH'?"
38. Lizzy Liu, 30 Apr 2010 "2010, a Challenging Year for the Implementation of China REACH"
40. 15 Aug 2012 Ebook02: New Chemical Substance Notification Guidance Document
43. Tommy Kong, 22 Nov 2012, Ebook09: Qualification Requirement of Testing Institutes under China NCSN