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Voluntary Call For Information on the Impact of Restricting the Concentration of Lead Compounds in Industrial Surface Coatings and Inks

Reasons for the review

Restrictions on the concentration of lead in industrial surface coatings and inks have now been fully implemented since January 2009 and

the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) require a review to be undertaken post implementation, as a Regulatory Impact Statement was not completed prior to introduction of the restrictions. Information provided through the survey will contribute to this review.

Background

Lead exposure is well known as a source of adverse health impacts in humans, particularly to the health of children and to workers in lead industries. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development proposed the phasing out of lead in gasoline (petrol) and the phasing out of lead based paints. A number of regulatory initiatives are in place to control the exposure of workers, the public and the environment to lead. Paint containing more than 0.1% lead in its non-volatile component is prohibited for sale for certain specific uses under Appendix I (Uniform Paint Standard) of the Poisons Standard. Workplace controls are in place throughout Australia to limit atmospheric levels of lead and also mandate maximum blood levels of lead for workers.

 

The risk of adverse effects associated with use of lead compounds in industrial surface coatings and inks varies according to the activity and resulting exposure. Surface preparation carries a high risk from dusts, and application carries a low risk if brush painted and a high risk for spray painting. Occupational exposure to lead is particularly high during surface preparation by sanding, prior to use of the industrial surface coatings, where old coatings containing lead (e.g. automotive panels and bridge repair) are removed. Consumer exposure could arise from renovations of building where leaded paints were used, inappropriate use of industrial coatings in domestic situations and in undertaking own panel repairs on vehicles.

 

In a joint industry/government project, fifteen lead compounds used in industrial surface coatings and inks were declared priority existing chemicals on 3 January 2006 for health risk assessment because of the toxicity of lead particularly to young children. The lead compounds were identified by a joint survey conducted by NICNAS and the Australian Paint Manufacturers Federation (APMF).

 

The aim of the assessment was to identify the health hazards of lead compounds and the potential for occupational and public exposure in Australia to be able to determine the risk of adverse effects to workers and the public. The health risk assessment was limited to the use of the identified lead compounds in industrial surface coatings and inks. Regulatory and voluntary industry controls in place at the time were assessed to identify whether these were adequate.

 

NICNAS completed a Priority Existing Chemicals (PEC) assessment of the fifteen lead compounds in industrial surface coatings and inks, and published a report on 20 September 2007 (http://www.nicnas.gov.au/Publications/CAR/PEC/PEC29.asp).

 

Based on the known health effects of lead and availability of alternatives one of the recommendations in the assessment report was that the declared lead compounds be phased out of industrial surface coatings and inks at concentrations greater than 0.1% in the non-volatile component. It was further recommended that this be achieved through annotation of the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS) and by changes to the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP) (now called the Poisons Standard).

 

Given the findings of the assessment and that the hazards of lead are well documented, NICNAS proposed to annotate the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS) to ensure a staged phase out of the compounds. The objective of the action was to minimise the use of lead compounds and eliminate uses that were not essential. A complete phase out from industrial surface coatings and inks took effect on 1 January 2009.

 

Industrial surface coatings are those not typically used in domestic situations, for example painting of factories, bridges, motor vehicles, machinery and equipment, coating of materials used in commercial buildings such as window frames.

 

Restrictions on lead compounds in inks are not restricted to industrial uses but relates to any uses of inks.

 

The restrictions have now been fully implemented since January 2009 and the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) requires a review of the impact on industry, workers and the public to be undertaken post implementation, as a similar review was not undertaken prior to introduction of the restrictions.

 

Responses to the survey will be confidential and no persons/companies will be identified. All data will be aggregated though it may be broken down into categories such as uses, occupational area etc.

 

The review will consider impacts across industry, the public and the not for profit sector and will consider not only financial, but health and safety impacts as well. Results of the review will inform a consideration of whether the restrictions achieved their aims. Following analysis of the survey findings and finalisation of the review, NICNAS will prepare a report which will be publically available.

 

For further information contact Stephen Zaluzny on 02 8577 8883, or if outside the 02 STD area freecall 1800 638 528, or by e-mail at stephen.zaluzny@nicnas.gov.au.

 

If you are an importer or manufacturer of industrial paints and/or inks and/or components to manufacture them, click here to access to survey.

 

If you are company involved in the use of industrial paints

and/or inks, click here to access to survey.

 

If you are a person who works with industrial paints and/or inks, either in the manufacture, application, or use in a process, click here to access to survey.

 

These surveys will run until Friday 27 April 2012

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