NICNAS Reforms Consultation Paper 4 Submission by Jeff Simpson, Haztech Environmental, 26 Oct 2016
Note: This submission may be used without attribution. It may be distributed and published without restrictions. Comment needs to be submitted to NICNAS by Friday 4th Nov 2016.
• NICNAS Reform Paper 3: Jeff Simpson’s Key Issues, 9 June 2016
My full comment is available: Jeff Simpson 9June2016 Haztech Environmental Comment on the NICNAS Reform Paper 3
a/ The NICNAS Authority has not understood that what they are proposing, has very little chance of Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Australia implementing in a technical, effective and cost efficient manner for them to introduce chemicals NOT on the AICS. Small and Medium Sized Businesses will want to introduce chemical products with ingredients not on the AICS, but are unlikely to have the capability to do so, which will be much the same as now.
Note: Very few of Small and Medium Sized Businesses have given attention (so far) to the proposed changes (as can be estimated by their complete lack of attendance at the NICNAS Workshops). These reforms are SO important that several hundred representatives out of the just under 6000 registered NICNAS entities should have been at the NICNAS Workshops, but I estimate that less than <3% came! Also there have been very few comments on the NICNAS website from Small and Medium Sized Businesses.
b/ It is not clear (so far) whether NICNAS will maintain an online database where Businesses have the option to enter their new chemical evaluations into it and attach relevant data for each tox/ecotox endpoint, rather than setting up their own spreadsheets / databases, that will need to be carefully maintained over many decades.
c/ The Exempt Chemicals that are “non hazardous” or are hazardous chemicals in a non-hazardous product, both need to be simply tracked (preferably each year) so the community can be assured that at least NICNAS knows of these new chemicals (which is required by the ICNA Act). With this simple tracking, incorrect evaluations or if significant information is alerted to NICNAS, will enable NICNAS to inform the specific businesses to take action. It will also enable NICNAS to carry out minimal (and for most businesses, nil) audits for the Exempt Category Chemicals as NICNAS will have been informed by the simply tracking data.
d/ The Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA) between AU and NZ, which is expected to also cover Industrial Chemicals in 2018 (but currently doesn’t), has not been taken into account (to be achieved) in the proposed NICNAS Reform approach. This is a major regulatory omission for this Agreement to not be addressed in any manner. The Reforms need to consider how the more pragmatic NZ risk management approach with 210 Group Standards plus site and storage conditions, could be modified and used in Australia, making one system for AU and NZ.
e/ Small (and most medium) sized businesses are not likely to have ready access to a technical specialist on NICNAS requirements with good access to the necessary tox databases and tox software. Auditing small (and most medium) sized businesses is likely to be problematic as they won’t normally have a technical specialist on NICNAS available. They are likely to use an occasional specialist consultant, who is very likely to be unavailable when NICNAS comes Auditing, due to their consultant’s other commitments. The Businesses’ normal admin and trading staff don’t understand the NICNAS regulatory requirements except in a minimalist way. So a 1 month response to a NICNAS Initiated Audit needs to be 3 months or more.
f/ It is not realistic that companies can obtain the chemical’s actual endpoint tox & ecotox data in the ECHA Registered Substances Database (RSD), as the EU SIEF members won’t make it available to Australian Businesses. This lack of access to data also applies to many other tox and ecotox databases, or if available, has a very significant cost for new chemicals. It should accepted by NICNAS for businesses to provide SIEF agreed classification outcomes rather than each endpoint data (which ECHA RSD will expand significantly by early 2019) and then AU businesses rely on being advised by the NICNAS computer when the ECHA RSD entry has an updated classification outcome.
g/ I don’t regard NICNAS should be either assessing or regulating cosmetic chemicals. Up until cosmetic chemicals where brought under NICNAS, the principal approach for industrial chemicals was for users to NEVER have contact with chemicals as even “non hazardous” chemicals might be hazardous or be contaminated with hazardous chemicals. I don’t regard that the ACCC has the chemical technical expertise to manage cosmetic chemicals, and I suggest that cosmetic chemicals would best managed under the TGA (which manages chemicals that are intended to come in contact with our bodies, and I regard that cosmetic chemicals have a close overlap with many therapeutic action chemicals).
• Draft National Standard Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals: 5 May 2016
(Comment by Jeff Simpson, Haztech Environmental, 5 May 2016)
The Outcome I want is:
A National Standard Environmental Risk Management of Chemicals (with exemptions allowed for other Chemical Control schemes where the environmental risks are already managed).
The National Standard I want would immediately introduce the Environmental Hazard requirements under the UN GHS for the Classification & Labelling of Chemicals, which would mean that all environmentally hazardous chemical products (to the aquatic environment and the ozone layer) would be identified to everyone importing, manufacturing, formulating, transporting, storing, handling, using, recycling and disposing of these chemical products. The SDSs would then include the classifications, labelling and management information.
It is very important that the National Standard Environmental Risk Management of Chemicals I want, be harmonised (or be easily able to be harmonised) with the NZ requirements for Hazardous Substances, and that Australia and NZ work to common set of Risk Management Standards, which can be achieved by modifying as needed, the existing 210 NZ Group Standards, plus additional NZ Site & Storage Condition documents.
It is also very important in the outcome I want that the reform of NICNAS introduces the pragmatic approach of NZ with use of their NZ Group Standards, plus additional NZ Site & Storage Condition documents to achieve the risk management needed to manage new chemicals (and eventually all chemicals to be included). To comprehensively manage the risks of all chemicals, NZ would need businesses to additionally identify the “non-hazardous” chemicals that they introduce into NZ every year so there can be a simple computer check to pick up hazardous chemicals or chemicals that change to hazardous. This would satisfy the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA).
In the outcome I want, where some chemicals are found to require extra controls (i.e. they can’t be allocated to a Group Standard), or there are found to be significant environmental hazards from existing chemicals or products, then additional evaluation by NICNAS and the NZ EPA would be needed only for these situations.
In the outcome I want, as the UN GHS for the Classification & Labelling of Chemicals includes more environmental hazards (e.g. to bees, birds, sensitive plants) that these are incorporated in timely manner into the National Standard for both AU and NZ.
Jeff Simpson’s discussion and comments in his submission, are made to enable Australia to meet the above outcome he wants, and are based on his interpretation of the Draft National Standard and Discussion Paper, attending the Melbourne Workshop on Monday 11th April 2016, his long term efforts to try and get in place a Classification, Labelling, SDS and management system for Environmentally Hazardous chemical products, and liasing with colleagues.
Documents are from:www.environment.gov.au/protection/chemicals-management/national-standard/discussion-paper-consultation Comment was emailed to: Chemicals.Management@environment.gov.au
• Serious Concerns about the NICNAS Reforms, 30 March 2016
(Comment by Jeff Simpson, Haztech Environmental, 30 March 2016)
I am seriously concerned that many importing businesses will not being able to manage the complexity of the “reforms”.
I would like to see a system of NICNAS reforms that is much closer to the NZ approach, except that “non-hazardous” chemicals or hazardous chemicals in non-hazardous formulations must be tracked, as a “responsible care” assurance for the community to accept the NICNAS Reforms.
For formulated products, using the New Zealand Group Standard approach, would mean most formulated products would have an agreed risk management approach, if applied in the same way as New Zealand; and I suggest this would be a lot simpler and cheaper than the proposed NICNAS Reforms in Consultation Paper 2 (for formulated products).
Then we are only left with the “single component chemicals”: Only these high concentration “single component chemicals” would then be managed in the Risk Matrix – Hazard Band vs Exposure Band NICNAS process and then have the Exempted, Reported, Assessed outcomes proposed.
We also need this system to eventually be extended to cover ALL existing Hazardous Chemicals, & so harmonise with NZ.