New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is “ramping up” its chemical reassessment programme and taking action on various workplace chemicals to ensure risks to people and the environment are being managed effectively.
Working with international counterparts, the EPA has identified a priority chemicals list of around 40 chemicals that require review and scrutiny.
This will involve reviewing the rules that currently apply to those chemicals to ensure risks are being appropriately managed, and are in line with the latest scientific recommendations.
EPA Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth said the review would provide greater confidence for New Zealanders that the EPA is properly managing their health and environmental concerns.
“Industry groups, importers, manufacturers and our trading partners will also enjoy greater consumer and international confidence in the way New Zealand manages its chemical regime.”
“Our worldwide knowledge about chemicals and their effects increases every day through advances in science and technology. At times, new information may indicate a chemical poses more risks than existed, or that we knew of, at the time it was originally approved for use in New Zealand.”
As part of the programme, grounds for reassessment have already been established for the herbicide paraquat, and a call for information has been completed. Further grounds for other chemicals on the priority list are being prepared for consideration by an EPA decision-making committee in the near future.
As New Zealand’s independent regulator, the EPA manages the regulation, approval and reassessment of chemicals classed as hazardous substances under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act.