Last Updated: April 6, 2017
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As in other Latin American countries, Costa Rica's Ministry of Health (MinSalud) has historically exercised authority over regulation of hazardous or toxic substances (General Health Law, Law 5395/1973) (see also discussion of the Central American Agreement on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes under "Transboundary Waste Controls"). MinSalud determines which substances are "hazardous," handles their registration and permitting, and has broad authority to ban and/or restrict specific substances. Notwithstanding the registration requirement (described below), MinSalud's specific restrictions have been limited, addressing asbestos, PCBs, and PBBs, among others.

As Costa Rica's international treaty obligations developed, the interplay of national agencies with overlapping jurisdiction over chemical substances became confusing, leading to the creation of an Office of Technical Coordination for Management of Chemical Substances with representatives from MinSalud, the Environmental Agency (MINAET), and others (Decree 33104/2006). The new entity does not have authority to restrict specific substances, acting more as a regulatory clearing house. At least technically, since 2006, MinSalud is granted jurisdiction over Basel Convention matters, and MINAET is expected to manage the Stockholm Convention commitments (Decree 33104/06, Arts. 4-5).


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