Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP) Links

Accelerated Assessment of Industrial Chemicals in Australia

As part of the reform regarding assessment of Existing Chemicals, NICNAS has implemented a new framework known as Inventory Multi-tiered Assessment and Prioritisation (IMAP) for the assessment and prioritisation of chemicals on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS).

The objectives of the IMAP framework are the identification and rapid assessment of existing chemicals of concern, leading to enhancements in chemical safety information flow and chemicals management. It is a more flexible and transparent approach to the assessment of the large number of chemicals on the national inventory and is responsive to the needs of industry, community and government.

This arose from recommendations from an independent review of the NICNAS Existing Chemicals Program and subsequent review conducted by the Productivity Commission1. The new framework provided more timely information about the hazards and risks associated with the use of industrial chemicals and identified those chemicals which:

  • Posed no unreasonable risk to human health or the environment; or
  • Required risk management measures to be instituted for safe use; or
  • Required more in-depth assessment to fully determine its impact on human health and/or the environment.

The new IMAP framework is being implemented in a staged manner. During the first stage of implementation, approximately 3,000 chemicals that met characteristics that stakeholders identified as priorities for early consideration are being examined through application of at least Tiers I and/or II of the framework. The chemicals in this first group to be assessed were identified as “Stage One Chemicals”. This first stage will take four years to complete.

The Stage One Chemicals were selected for assessment 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.

NICNAS commenced the assessment of the Stage One Chemicals in July 2012, and 800 of these chemicals have been identified for commencement of assessment in 2012-13.

Stage One of this program will conclude with an external review of the framework in the fourth year of operation. This review is expected to make recommendations on the most efficient and effective approach for the assessment and prioritisation of the remainder of the chemicals on the AICS.

1 http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/82331/

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