A recent news story provided by the Myanmar Times is interesting on several fronts. It shows the continuing worldwide adoption of chemical industry standards, including labeling procedures; it confirms the industry’s preference for the United National Global Harmonization System (GHS); and, it shows once again that the industry itself is generally for rather than against industry standards even though some critics persist in saying otherwise.
Just to be clear, the news story is all about Myanmar. But according to Wikipedia, that is Burma, which is officially called the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and is the second largest country by geographical area in Southeast Asia.
Basically, in 2008, a voluntary body of chemical producers formed the Myanmar Responsible Care Council (MRCC), and set to work on drafting a proposed law governing the safe use and disposal of hazardous chemicals, including mandates for the use of GHS standards for categorizing and labeling chemicals. The group also drew support from the Japan Chemical Industrial Association and Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). Moreover, according to U Paw Hein who heads the Myanmar Industrial Association, the MRCC consulted and collaborated with the Ministry of Industry 1, Ministry of Energy, Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), as well as university professors and other specialists.
The result? Here’s the opening sentence from the news report:
THE new national government is expected to soon enact a law governing the safe use and disposal of hazardous chemicals that has been drafted by a voluntary body of chemical producers, according to a spokesperson for the group.
Throughout the full news report, written by Ei Ei Toe Lwin, chemical industry and MRCC spokespeople are quoted giving their support for the standards initiative. Here’s one: U Than Htaik Lwin, executive director and chief operating officer of Toyo-brand battery producer Proven Technology Industry Company, which joined the council in early 2010, said he welcomed the drafting of the proposed law… “I think this law is necessary for both manufacturers and traders,” he said. “Because it has been written according to international standards and regulations it should have a positive effect on the environment and public health.”
So there you have it. The industry itself is fostering the standards initiative and it gets the idea of globalized approaches.