Australian industry is being left behind as new lower hazard chemicals are being introduced into the rest of the world; or hazardous chemicals with better sustainability footprints are being developed.
It has been difficult for small industry in Australia to bring in such chemicals into Australia, due to the initial regulatory introduction cost and the time needed to develop a market to allow these costs to be recovered.
To overcome this impediment, New Zealand have already shown the way with their pragmatic use of Group Standards to set the controls needed for the majority of hazardous chemicals in hazardous mixtures.It is only new hazardous chemicals not in mixtures and mixtures that don’t meet the Group Standards requirements that are assessed by the NZ EPA. Then the NZ government helps to defray the hazardous chemical assessment cost, as allowing new products into NZ creates jobs for the community, particularly where there are small companies and small markets involved.
As Australia wants to manage all chemicals, the NZ approach for non-hazardous chemicals or hazardous chemicals that are in non-hazardous products, could easily be modified tracking the CAS Numbers along (with the % in each product of the Hazardous Ingredients if >0.1%), so that a computer program could pick up any anomalies.
Then if a new hazard is found or one of these chemicals is finally found to be hazardous, it would be simple to ask the importers to take part in a review.
This approach would align Australia and New Zealand with a pragmatic but workable approach for managing chemicals, so that the toxicological review efforts are only on the products with unusual hazards.
What do you think?