To enhance public safety, NICNAS prepared several submissions to the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee regarding the scheduling of consumer chemicals under the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons.

Poisons scheduling through the Committee provides a mechanism to control the use of chemicals available to the public.

Two submissions arose from recommendations contained in NICNAS priority existing chemical reports on lead compounds in industrial surface coatings and inks and on formaldehyde/ paraformaldehyde.

Consultations on additional regulatory restrictions on lead compounds in industrial surface coatings and inks recommended in the report were undertaken with the Australian Safety and Compensation Council and industry.

As a result of NICNASs submission on lead compounds, together with other agencies considerations, lead compounds in inks or ink additives have now been prohibited from sale, supply and use.

The prohibition of lead compounds in paints and surface coatings from sale, supply and use was foreshadowed by the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee at its meeting in February 2008. A review was also begun of the Uniform Paint Standard in relation to lead standards.

NICNAS also made submissions to the Committee in regard to three existing chemicals not previously scheduled.

Two submissions were prompted by concerns about public safety arising from investigations into the chemicals by NICNAS following media reports and governmental and public enquiries.

Children were reported to have been hospitalised after ingesting toy beads containing the chemical 1,4-Butanediol, while in the second case, diethylene glycol, a known hazardous chemical, was reported to be present in some imported toothpastes.

The NICNAS submissions recommended prohibition on the sale, supply and use of 1,4-butanediol for use in toys and of diethylene glycol for intentional cosmetic oral purposes.

Methyldibromo glutaronitrile, or MDBGN, a preservative and biocide used in a wide range of consumer products including cosmetics, was of concern to NICNAS due to its skin sensitizing potential.

NICNASs submission recommended prohibition of the sale, supply and use of MDBGN in cosmetic products and products intended to be in contact with the skin and for other uses. It further recommended listing of it as a Schedule 6 Poison requiring warning statements.

A submission on MNBP (pyridine,4-ethenyl-reaction products with 3a,4,7,7a-tetrahydrodimethyl-4,7-methano-1H-indene), a sensitising chemical found in fragrance oil, was also prepared after notification to NICNAS of new animal toxicity data.

The National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee has considered the NICNAS submissions.

A Record of Reasons relating to scheduling decisions will be available in 2008-09.