Quantity

NICNAS undertakes assessments of chemicals already in use in Australia on a priority basis under the Existing Chemicals Assessment (EC) Program. Appendix 11 details the types of assessments that are undertaken in the program.

During 2005-06, assessments for two priority existing chemicals ( PECs ) were completed, and secondary notification assessments for two chemicals previously assessed as new chemicals were completed to consultation stage.

Assessment activities for 2005-06 are su mmarised in Table 11 and are compared with last year’s activities.

Table 11: Assessment data for the Existing Chemicals assessment types for 2004-05 and 2005-06

2004-05

2005-06

Chemicals under assessment

46

39

PECs declared for assessment (includes secondary notifications)

8

27

Screening/other assessments commenced

39

7

Assessment modules completed (PEC and Screening/other)

80

27

Assessments completed (PEC and Screening/Other)

43

11

Chemicals subject to post-assessment activity

4

1

International hazard assessments completed

0

6

Also completed in 2005-06 were one screening assessment, five assessments addressing poisons scheduling issues, and one hazard assessment. In addition, six hazard assessments were completed and submitted to the OECD under the OECD High Production Volume (HPV) program. These assessments are detailed in Table 12, and also in Appendix 14 which details EC Assessment activity.

Table 12: Existing chemical assessments in final consultation phase, published or otherwise completed in 2005-06

Priority Existing Chemicals

Octabromobiphenyl

Decabromobiphenyl

Secondary assessment of Infineum

Secondary assessment of HFE-7100

Hazard assessments

One hazard assessment for the Tasmanian Dept of Health and Human Services

Hazard assessments for a group of six chemicals (hydrotropes) undertaken under the OECD HPV program

Screening assessments

Beryllium

Poisons Scheduling

Five chemical assessment submissions to the NDPSC

A target of three full assessments and ten other assessments was set for 2005-06 – a target which aims to maintain an output target of 50 chemicals assessed over a three-year period, set as a performance indicator in the DoHA PBS 2004-05. This target was met for both full assessments and other assessments.

There was a significant increase in the number of chemicals declared as PECs in 2005-06, compared to 2004-05. They included nine phthalate chemicals used in childcare articles and toys as well as cosmetics, fifteen lead compounds used in surface coatings and inks, and two polybrominated flame retardants (PBFRs). Full risk assessments of all these chemicals progressed in 2005-06. Trend data for Existing Chemicals assessment outputs is given at Figure 10.

Figure 10: Five -year trend data of Existing Chemical assessment outputs

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Modules Completed

62

46

63

80

27

Assessments Completed

27

16

33

43

17

Timeliness

Statutory timelines exist in relation to PEC and secondary notification assessments. These include legislated deadlines, mandated by the Act, for applicant and public comment on draft reports, for the Director’s response to requests for variations to draft reports and for completion of an assessment. These timelines were all met in 2005-06.

The draft PEC assessment report for Formaldehyde was released for public comment in September 2005. The publication of the final report has been withheld due to the lodging of applications to the AAT for review of the decisions made by the NICNAS Director on the variation requests to the draft report.

Effectiveness

In 2005-06 NICNAS continued to build strong partnerships with other government agencies involved in the protection of public health and safety through assessment and management of chemicals. Details of projects undertaken this year as part of the EC Program are detailed below.