Media Release - RISK TO ENVIRONMENT FROM METALWORKING
05 Jun 2001
A report by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and
Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) on the chemicals known as short chain
chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) finds a high potential for damage to the
Released today, NICNAS's report is a preliminary assessment and was
carried out after concern about SCCPs' long term health and
SCCPs are not biodegradable and have been shown to accumulate in humans
and the environment.
In Australia, they are used in the manufacture of metalworking fluids,
and in a range of products used in the building industry such as
fillers, adhesives and coating materials. Other uses include the
manufacture of pigment dispersants, rubber, and leather treatment
products. Some of the final products containing SCCPs such as adhesives,
paints and sealants may be available to the general public.
There is the potential for workers to be exposed to SCCPs in the
formulation of these products, although the report considers this
potential to be low.
However, the potential for damage to the aquatic environment through the
inappropriate disposal of extreme pressure lubricants used in
metalworking fluids, may be high.
NICNAS recommends a full environmental risk assessment be conducted on
the use of SCCPs in metal working fluids.
The preliminary assessment report is available from the NICNAS website
PEC 16 page.
The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
(NICNAS) operates under the Commonwealth Industrial Chemicals
(Notification and Assessment) Act 1989.
NICNAS is a statutory scheme within the portfolio of the Minister for
Health and Ageing. Its approach to the scientific assessment of
chemicals covers toxicity, exposure and use to assess the environmental,
public health and occupational health and safety risk. For more
information see the web site
Nick Miller, NICNAS, (02) 8577 8810 or 0407 228 285