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Media Release - RISK TO ENVIRONMENT FROM METALWORKING CHEMICALS

 

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 aquatic environment.

Released today, NICNAS's report is a preliminary assessment and was carried out after concern about SCCPs' long term health and environmental effects.

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 at the PEC 16 page.
 

About NICNAS

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 www.nicnas.gov.au
 

Further information

Nick Miller, NICNAS, (02) 8577 8810 or 0407 228 285

 

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