7 List of Banned Chemicals in Japan – Compound – Effects

Japan bans certain chemical substances to be used for manufacture, daily use, import and marketing. All of the banned chemical substances are under the regulation of Chemical Substance Control Law, Japan. Basically, Chemical Substance Control Law classify the banned chemicals into two classes, which are Class I and Class II Specified Chemical Substances.

First, Class I Specified Chemical Substances, a list of chemicals which are practically banned. Class I Specified Chemical Substances has 31 chemicals in list labelled as banned chemicals. Chemical substances included in this class are persistent, highly bio accumulative and have risks to human and animals.

Meanwhile, Class II Specified Chemical Substances is a list of chemicals which require notification of scheduled production or import volume every year. This class has 23 chemicals listed. Those 23 chemicals are toxicity for human, animals and cause damage to the environment. Here is the list of 7 banned chemicals in Japan:

1. Perfluorinated Chemicals 

Perfluorinated Chemicals is listed in the Class I Specified Chemical Substances. Those chemicals belong to perfluorinated chemicals are Perfluoro-octane -1-sulfonic acid (PFOS) or its salts and Perfluoro-octane -1-sulfonyl-fluoride (PFOSF).

Actually, Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) are manmade chemicals. Those chemicals are widely used in industry for their water repel properties. PFCs are mainly used in list of banned chemicals in textile industry. They are used to make products which are water and stain proof.

Following the regulation of Class I Specified Chemical Substances, we know that PFCs are persistent. They persist in the environment and can accumulate in body tissue or bio magnify through the food chain. The most well-known PFCs is Perfluoro-octane -1-sulfonic acid (PFOS). This compound is highly resistant to degradation and persist for very long periods in the environment.

2. Tributyltin (Tbt) 

Tributyltin (Tbt) is used as anti-fouling paint. What is it? Anti-fouling paint is the paint that commonly used for removing or preventing the accumulation of marine organisms from the surface of hull. Tributyltin is banned in Japan and listed in Class II Specified Chemical Substances.

Despite of the brilliant properties, this banned chemical has harmful effects to marine organisms. It causes disruption of endocrine system of marine shell fish. This leads to the development of male sex characteristics in female snails. Other effects are that it impairs the immune system of the organisms and cause malformation of the shell of shellfish.

3. Carbon Tetrachloride 

Like PFCs, Carbon Tetrachloride is also manmade compound. This compound can be found in dry cleaning agents, refrigerants, cleaners and pesticides. Listed in Class II Specified Chemical Substances, the compound can be toxic both in liquid and gas form.

This chemical can be dangerous to human if it is ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. You may say that this chemical can cause poisoning. Carbon Tetrachloride poisoning can lead to hepatitis and even dead to human. Study in animals said that Carbon Tetrachloride is also linked to hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.

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4. Mercury

Unlike the previous chemical, Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be found everywhere. It is Not only banned in Japan, but also listed by WHO as the top ten chemicals of major public health concern. The element exists in various form such as elemental, inorganic and organic (methylmercury).

In the environment, Mercury is transformed by bacteria into methylmercury which can be harmful to human. Methylmercury then bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish. It also biomagnifies.

Both methylmercury and elemental mercury are toxic to the nervous system. Besides, they have harmful effects on other parts of body, such as on digestive, immune systems, lungs and kidneys. Meanwhile, in the form of inorganic salts, mercury can be corrosive to skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract.

5. Selenium sulfide

Selenium Sulfide can be found in list of chemicals in shampoo. It is used for treating dandruff and certain scalp infection. Selenium Sulfide can reduce itching, flaking, irritation and redness of the scalp. It also can be found in skin treatment products.

The chemical is banned because of its side effects. There are several side effects that are harmful to skin. It causes irritation, dry skin, both oily and dry hair, even scalp. Other serious effect is hair discoloration.

6. Phenoxyethanol

Phenoxyethanol is used as preservative that can be found everywhere, chemicals in cosmetic products. You may find it in moisturizer, eye shadow, sunscreen, mascara, lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, hand sanitizer, etc. The banned chemical is not only preservative, but is also used as stabilizer in perfumes and soaps. It may cause allergic reaction ranging from eczema to anaphylaxis. Other serious effect is in infants which may harm the nervous system. 

7. Hexa Chlorobenzene

As compound, Hexa Chlorobenzene is a white and crystalline solid at room temperature. It can be found in treated and background soils, sediments and oceans. As disposal of hexachlorobenzene products and byproduct of other processes, this compound can also be found in air, surface water and groundwater.

Chlorobenzenes are persistent and bio accumulative chemicals. Even, Hexa Chlorobenzene can be found in breast milk, fish and food products. The chlorobenzene is usually used as solvent and biocides, in the manufacture of dyes and also as chemical intermediaries.

Studies in animals said that eating food containing Hexa Chlorobenzene in a long-term can cause cancer of the liver, kidney and thyroid. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has also informed that Hexa Chlorobenzene is reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen. Following U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), U.S. EPA also says so. Other institution agreeing with this fact is The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC).

In human, Hexa Chlorobenzene may cause effects on the nervous system. The effects are weakness, tremors and convulsion. Besides, it may cause skin sores, liver effects such as porphyria and reduce thyroid hormones in thyroid.