Laws and Regulations
The Hazardous Substance Act of B.E.2535 (1992) has been effective since April 7, 1992. The highlights of the Act are summarized as follows;
1. By definition, a hazardous substance means any of the following substances:
- Flammable substances
- Oxidizing agents and peroxides
- Toxic substances
- Infectious substances
- Radioactive substances
- Mutant causing substances (mutagens)
- Corrosive substances
- Irritating substances
- Other substances either chemicals or otherwise which may cause injury to humans, animals, plants, properties, or the environment.
2. Owing to the diverse characteristics and usage of those hazardous substances, the Hazardous Substances Act may not totally be enforced by only one agency. Three ministries, namely the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and the Ministry of Public Health are directly involved in the control of hazardous substances. Other agencies such as the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Science and Technology are also involved in the enforcement of the Act. The Act also opens opportunities for other agencies to make requests to become one of the authorized control agencies.
3. The Committee on Hazardous Substances is composed of no more than 25 representatives from the relevant ministries or agencies and no more than 7 scholars. The Committee has powers to consider various aspects and matters concerning the administration of hazardous substances control efforts.
4. The Committee has the following authorities:
1) Making recommendations to the Ministry of Industry regarding (a) announcements of designated names and types of hazardous substances under the Act; (b) the responsible agencies (Section 18 paragraph two); and (c) lists of hazardous substances exempted from registration (Section 36 paragraph one).
2) Making recommendations to the responsible Ministries regarding announcements pursuant to Section 20, Section 36 paragraph 3, Section 37 paragraph 2, Section 44, and Section 47(5).
3) Giving advice to the authorities regarding registration of hazardous substances or revocation of the registered hazardous substances.
4) Giving advice to the responsible Ministries, responsible agencies and the authorities on any matters relating to hazardous substances.
5) Considering complaints from those who suffer from harm or damage caused by hazardous substances.
6) Publicizing information relating to hazardous substances, including the list of hazardous substances or of relevant agencies engaging in the business.
7) Inspecting, advising and assisting competent officers, government bodies or agencies in charge of various hazardous substances in exercising their powers and in performing their duties.
8) Making recommendations to the Cabinet through the Ministry of Industry regarding the control and protection of hazardous substances, including remedies for damages caused by hazardous substances and operation guidelines for government agencies.
9) Performing other tasks as provided by the law.
5. The Minister of Industry is empowered to:
1) Issue Ministerial Regulations
- prescribing fees at rates not higher than those annexed to the Act;
- specifying exemptions from paying a fee;
- specifying criteria and procedures for application, for permission and for renewal of permits to import, export, manufacture and sale of toxic substances.
2) Make Notifications in the Government Gazette according to recommendations of the Committee concerning:
- the designation of the names, types or use of hazardous substances, period of application and responsible agencies; and
- the list of hazardous substances type 2 or type 3 which are exempted from registration.
6. The Responsible Minister, with the recommendation of the committee, is empowered to publish in the Government Gazette the following:
1) Appointments of the competent officials.
2) Specifications of the composition, qualifications, mixtures, containers, methods of examining and testing containers, labels, production, import, export, sale, transport, storage, disposal, destruction, treatments of hazardous substances, their containers, submission of information or specimens or any other matters relating to hazardous substances for the control, prevention, mitigation or restraint of dangers to be inflicted upon humans, animals, plants, properties or the environment, taking into consideration the international conventions and covenants.
3) Designation of specialists/experts or personnel responsible for the execution of power item 2.6.2.
4) Setting up of allowable quantities of hazardous substances.
5) Designation of names and qualifications of hazardous substances being exempted from registration.
6) Establishment of criteria for registration of hazardous substances.
7. The Act classified hazardous substances into 4 types according to degree of hazard as follows:
1) Type 1 hazardous substances, including those that require monitoring due to their low degree of hazard. The production, import, export or possession of such substances does not require a licence or registration certificate, but the business operators must comply with the specified criteria and procedures.
2) Type 2 hazardous substances, including those that are subject to both monitoring and controlling. The production, import, export, or possession of such substances must be notified to the authorities. The business operators must also comply with the specified criteria and must obtain a registration certificate (unless exempted).
3) Type 3 hazardous substances, including those that are subject to stricter control procedures because of their higher degree of hazard, compared to type 2 hazardous substances. The production, import, export, or possession of such substances requires a permit and a registration certificate (unless exempted).
4) Type 4 hazardous substances, including those that are considered to pose a vital risk to humans. So the production, import, export, or possession of any of such substances is prohibited.
8. An Information Center for Hazardous Substances shall be established in the Ministry of Industry as a coordinating center for collection and provision of information relating to hazardous substances.
9. According to the duties and liabilities prescribed in Chapter 3 of the Act, the Minister of Industry is empowered to publish in the Government Gazette additional designated substances being regarded as hazardous substances.
10. The competent officials have the following powers:
1) To arrest any suspected person for investigation when there is a reasonably suspicious ground to believe that such an offence has been committed.
2) To inspect any place engaging in business relating to the production and storage of hazardous substances, or inspect any vehicle suspected of carrying hazardous substances.
3) To take reasonable quantities of hazardous or suspicious substances for further testing.
4) To search, detain, or seize hazardous substances, their containers, book accounts, or documents of any relevant articles when there is a reasonably suspicious ground that an offence has been committed.
5) To summon in writing any person to testify or to submit any documents on substances for consideration.