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Who regulates chemical products in Australia? PDF Print E-mail

There are four national schemes that assess, register and review chemicals and products covering industrial chemicals, agricultural and veterinary chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food.

The responsibility for chemicals and products from the point of sale, which means after you have purchased them, lies with state and territory governments who monitor their safe use and disposal.

Itís important to note that many chemicals have not been thoroughly assessed for their impacts on health and the environment;, in fact there are around 38,000 industrial chemicals, many of them in common use around our homes, which have not been adequately assessed for their long-term impacts.

A lot of chemicals around today were in use before regulatory schemes had adequate assessment procedures. While some individual chemicals may be regulated, there is limited control of chemicals that are contained in consumer products such as electronics, furnishings and toys that enter Australia as well as assessment of the complex chemical mixture that is in other products.

Industrial chemicals

The regulatory agency is the National Industrial Chemical Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). Industrial chemicals are varied and cover, for example, dyes, solvents, adhesives, plastics, laboratory chemicals, paints, as well as chemicals used in cleaning products and cosmetics and toiletries.

Agricultural and veterinary chemicals

The regulatory agency is the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Types of chemicals regulated are household and agricultural pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides etc) and veterinary products.

Medicines and medicinal products

The regulatory agency is the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Therapeutic goods include prescription and non-prescription (including over-the-counter and complementary medicines), as well as medical devices including some sterilisers and disinfectants.

Food

The regulatory agency is Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) which covers chemicals added to food such as colouring or flavouring.

 
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