NICNAS Matters October 2014
Companies that introduce (import or manufacture) industrial chemicals have a number of obligations under the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (the ICNA Act). NICNAS works closely with industry to promote awareness of these legal obligations, and to resolve any identified non-compliance.
In 2014–15, NICNAS continues to monitor companies' compliance with these obligations, particularly in relation to the introduction of new industrial chemicals. A new industrial chemical is a chemical that is not listed on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS).
This month (October 2014) NICNAS will be asking a number of registered introducers (across all sectors) to provide information to demonstrate their compliance with their obligations regarding new chemicals under the Act.
If you wish to discuss your obligations under the Act, or require more information regarding NICNAS's compliance monitoring activities, please contact NICNAS on 1800 638 528—or by sending an e-mail to: email@example.com.
FAQs on new chemicals added to NICNAS website
New FAQs (frequently asked questions—and answers to them) have been added to the NICNAS website for notifiers of new chemicals. They include questions on which NICNAS has provided previous advice—such as whether certain groups of chemicals are considered reactive functional groups for the purposes of the Polymer of Low Concern (PLC) criteria—as well as more general questions regarding the data requirements for notifications, such as the requirements for providing chemical names.
When sending your application for assessment of a new chemical, please include an electronic copy of all documents if possible—including forms, test reports, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and labels—that you are submitting to NICNAS.
You can do this either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or sending NICNAS a memory stick or CD. If you include an electronic copy, you will only need to submit one hard copy of the entire submission, rather than two.
On Monday 11 August 2014, NICNAS Director Dr Brian Richards also assumed the role of Executive Director, Office of Chemical Safety (OCS)—a business unit within the Department of Health. As a result, Dr Richards oversees not only the staff administering NICNAS (who are now employed within the OCS) but also staff in the Chemicals Scheduling Secretariat and staff of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Team (AVCAT) who conduct human health risk assessments for the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
Although this does not affect the operation of NICNAS as a statutory scheme, this organisational change is in accordance with government policies regarding the consolidation of similar functions within government. As Director, NICNAS, Dr Richards continues to exercise the powers and functions defined in the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (the ICNA Act).
NICNAS functions continue to be funded through existing cost recovery arrangements; other OCS activities are funded through other sources of revenue.
New Secretary, Department of Health
On Monday 13 October 2014, Mr Martin Bowles PSM commenced as Secretary, Department of Health. Mr Bowles's appointment to the role follows the move of former Secretary—Professor Jane Halton—to head the Department of Finance, earlier this year.
Mr Bowles's most recent role was as Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. He has also served as Deputy Secretary with the departments of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, and with Defence—more information is available on the Health website.
Moving into the third year
NICNAS's Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP) framework focuses on a subset of existing chemicals on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS) that were selected for priority assessment.
The selection of the chemicals was based on the following characteristics, agreed by stakeholders as priorities for early consideration:
- chemicals for which NICNAS already holds exposure information
- chemicals identified as a concern or for which regulatory action has been taken overseas, and
- chemicals detected in international studies analysing chemicals present in the blood in babies' umbilical cords.
In addition to producing information about the hazards and risks associated with using these industrial chemicals, the IMAP framework identifies chemicals that could require further risk mitigation to ensure safe use.
As NICNAS moves into the third year of IMAP implementation, we have been focusing our efforts on assessing more complex chemicals—heavy fuel oils, rosins, auramines, soluble zinc salts, cobalt, cadmium, aluminium, beryllium, lead and halogenated compounds—to name a few.
We invited interested parties to comment on the assessment outcomes of our most recent—Tranche 10—IMAP release (on Thursday 18 September 2014). The Tranche 10 public comment period will end at the close of business on 31 October 2014.
NICNAS always welcomes any opportunity to engage with industry and the public regarding IMAP, as industry can—and has—provided important information, which is useful in compiling our assessment findings.
Over the last two years we have made considerable progress in developing information management systems to support the efficient delivery of our IMAP assessments.
We are now preparing for the release of Tranche 11—due for publication in late November 2014.
We provided the following information about IMAP at the recent Industry Government Consultative Committee (IGCC) meeting:
- our advice to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)—that triggered companies to undertake voluntary recalls of certain textiles (as reported in the June/July 2014 NICNAS Matters)—was consistent with the objects of the ICNA Act; and
- feedback from persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has indicated that IMAP reports are a very useful tool for them, assisting them to comply with their obligations under Worker Health and Safety (WHS) legislation.
Australia is a signatory to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (the Convention). At its sixth meeting, 28 April to 10 May 2013, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP 6) agreed by consensus to list certain industrial chemicals in Annex III of the Convention. Annex III includes chemicals that are subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure under the Convention.
Subsequent to the listing of additional chemicals in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention, amendments have been made to regulation 11(C)(1) of Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Regulations 1990 (the ICNA Regulations). The regulations prohibit the introduction and export of the chemicals, specified in the table below, without written authorisation from the Director, NICNAS.
Import and export controls on industrial chemicals subject to the PIC procedure are also enforced under the subsection 106(2) of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989. The additional chemicals are listed in the following table:
|Commercial octabromodiphenyl ether (including Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenyl ether)||36483-60-0 68928-80-3|
|Commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether (including tetrabromodiphenyl ether and pentabromodiphenyl ether)||32534-81-9, 40088-47-9|
|Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonates, perfluorooctane sulfonamides and perfluorooctane sulfonyls||1691-99-2, 1763-23-1, 24448-09-7, 251099-16-8, 2795-39-3, 29081-56-9, 29457-72-5, 307-35-7, 31506-32-8, 4151-50-2, 56773-42-3, 70225-14-8|
The AAT decision was: 'The Tribunal varies the decision under review by removing the additional conditions as to amount per annum per introducer imposed by the Respondent in respect of chemicals 1 to 4, but otherwise affirms the decision.'
For full details—including the consequences of inclusion of the chemicals on the AICS, please see the September 2014 Chemical Gazette.
TRAINING & OUTREACH
Industry awareness sessions for notifiers, industry and customs brokers
Our sessions are designed to raise industry awareness of obligations in relation to NICNAS, and are intended for new registrants who might be unfamiliar with NICNAS—or those wanting to learn more about the scheme.
The sessions run for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours—and attendance is free. Please note that there is a limited number of places available, so you need to register your interest (see bottom of this item for further details).
Sunshine Coast, QLD—27 October, 2014
Brisbane—28 October, 2014
Wollongong, NSW—4 December, 2014—Expression of Interest (EOI) by 21 November 2014
Sydney—4 June, 2015—EOI by 22 May 2015
Ballarat, VIC—4 March, 2015—EOI by 21 February 2015
Melbourne—5 March, 2015—EOI by 21 February 2015
Customs broker seminars
NICNAS also conducts seminars for customs brokers and forwarders; they are run in parallel with conferences and meetings of the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA)
Adelaide—26 July, 2014—CBFCA Conference
Brisbane—30 October, 2014—CBFCA AGM
Melbourne—5 March, 2015—EOI by 21 February 2015
Sydney—4 June, 2015—EOI by 22 May 2015
All sessions run for 1.5 to 2 hours and attendance is free. For more details, please see our training and outreach page.
Registering your interest
If you wish to attend any session. please provide your name; industry/company; training session; number of attendees and preferred city, and email: email@example.com.
If you have any further queries about industry training, please phone: 02 8577 8800, or Freecall: 1800 638 528 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERNATIONAL HARMONISATION & ENGAGEMENT
NICNAS's participation in meetings of international agencies and bodies assists us in a number of ways. These include: developing strategic weight of evidence approaches for assessing data that do not follow OECD guidelines, and helping with category assessments by identifying chemical groups for risk assessment.
NICNAS annually reviews its participation in international forums to ensure that resources have been allocated to the activities of most benefit. Decisions about attending individual meetings are based on the relevance of the items to be discussed at each meeting. Participation by teleconference is organised, where practicable.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
22 October—Accord Australasia Cosmetic and personal care conference, Sydney NSW
23 October—15th NICNAS Industry Engagement Group meeting, Sydney NSW
27 October—NICNAS Industry training session, Sunshine Coast QLD
28 October—NICNAS Industry training session, Brisbane QLD
28 October—APVMA Nanotechnology Regulation Symposium, Canberra ACT
29–31 October—Ecoforum conference, Gold Coast QLD
30 October—NICNAS Customs broker seminar at CBFCA AGM, Brisbane QLD
16–18 November—First International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management, Melbourne VIC
29 Nov–3 Dec—Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists inc (AIOH) conference, Melbourne VIC
02 December—50th Industry Government Consultative Committee (IGCC) meeting, Sydney NSW
04 December—NICNAS Industry training session, Wollongong NSW
07–12 December—Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) National Congress: Building strong bonds, Adelaide SA
25 December to 01 January 2015 (inclusive)—NICNAS office closed
19 February—16th NICNAS Industry Engagement Group meeting, Sydney NSW
04 March—NICNAS Industry training session, Ballarat VIC
05 March—NICNAS Industry training session & NICNAS Customs broker seminar, Melbourne VIC
04 June—NICNAS Industry training session & NICNAS Customs broker seminar, Sydney NSW
18 June—17th NICNAS Industry Engagement Group meeting, Sydney NSW
A note about the Chemical Gazette
The Chemical Gazette is a Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. It is published on the NICNAS website on the first Tuesday of every month, as required by section 5 of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth) (the Act).
Importantly, it contains information required by the Act to be published in the Chemical Gazette. To provide a clearer distinction between legal notices required to be published under the Act and other notices of interest to stakeholders relating to chemical regulation, NICNAS will publish (when necessary) an online NICNAS Chemical Bulletin containing notices of general interest, at the same time as NICNAS publishes the Chemical Gazette.
Tranche 10 IMAP reports—released on Friday 19 September 2014 with the public comment period ending on Friday 31 October
IMAP Stage One reports and recommendations (updated to include Tranche 10)
Website pages and updates
Consultative arrangements: NICNAS reviewed its current stakeholder engagement arrangements, with the aim of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its engagement mechanisms, and proposed a revised engagement model. The Proposal for Revised NICNAS Consultative Arrangements discussion paper was published for a 6-week period of public consultation, with closing date for written submissions on 1 September 2014.
Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Regulations 1990 (the ICNA Regulations—latest version)
IGCC 49—19 August 2014
NICNAS's 2013–14 operational and financial performance and the 2014–15 draft Business Plan and budget were the focus of discussion at the meeting. Members were also briefed on progress of the IMAP programme (as covered in the IMAP update item above).
Next IGCC meeting: 2 December 2014.
AROUND THE REGULATORS
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
The ACCC is celebrating its 40th anniversary. For details and interesting materials on the 40 years since 1 October 1974, when the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) first took effect and the ACCC's forerunner, the Trade Practices Commission (TPC) opened its doors for the first time, visit the Celebrating 40 years page.
CHEMISTRY IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Nobel prize for chemistry
When the first Nobel prize (named after Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer and innovator—pictured at left) was presented in 1901, the chemistry prize went to Jacobus H. van 't Hoff. Van 't Hoff's work had shown how elements link and move about.
One hundred and thirteen years' later, the 2014 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to three scientists: Stefan Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany; William Moerner of Stanford University in California, USA and Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Virginia. They received the prize for developing powerful new (super-resolved fluorescent) microscopes that are used to study tissues at the level of single molecules.
Chemistry's 'org chart'—the periodic table
BTW: The periodic table—which reveals the underlying order of protons, neutrons, and electrons that lie at the heart of all matter—was published by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. Its structure—presented as columns and rows—has predicted elements before they were found, and even their properties. Before he died—in 1907—Mendeleev was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize (in 1905 and in 1906) but was unsuccessful because a committee member thought his work was too old and well-known!
Dr Bill Diver retired in August after 24 years' service with NICNAS.
Bill had worked in most teams at NICNAS at one time or another, and was most recently a highly valued member of the Corporate and Regulatory Strategy programme. His amazingly diverse knowledge and understanding of the world—both scientific and non-scientific—was appreciated by all who worked with him. NICNAS staff and stakeholders recognised the huge contribution he made at NICNAS, and all join in wishing him a long and happy retirement.
© Commonwealth of Australia 2014
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the National Industrial Chemicals Notification Scheme. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to: Head, Corporate and Regulatory Strategy Programme, National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, GPO Box 58, Sydney NSW 2001 AUSTRALIABack to top