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Outcome 6 - Informing choice

Enabling choices about the use of chemicals through provision of risk information.

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Actions

  • Continue to publish chemical safety information through evaluation statements on our website. 
  • Conduct evaluations for chemicals that include:  
    • chemicals that are unlikely to require further regulation to manage risks to human health and/or environment
    • identified substitutes for high concern chemicals
    • chemicals introduced to Australia in articles.
  • Put in place strategies to ensure chemical safety information is suitable to allow stakeholders to make informed decisions.

Strategies to enable informed choice

We will evaluate chemicals and publish information to support industry, workers, regulators and the general public to make informed choices about chemical use and risk mitigation measures. This includes publishing on our website a list of our current evaluations, as well as chemicals that are candidates for future evaluations. See our rolling action plan for details.

Communicating evaluation findings

The evaluation statements we publish on our website will provide a range of interested parties with concise information about identified risks and recommended risk management measures. This information can be used to inform decisions about effective ongoing management of potential risks associated with the use of chemicals.

Internationally, there is a push to publish more information on chemicals identified as potential substitutes to allow informed decision-making. The availability of this information has beneficial effects for worker safety, consumer and environmental protection. During the ESA process, we will identify chemicals with enough information to determine that they are unlikely to require further regulation to manage risks to health or the environment.

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The Rolling Action Plan, which lists our chemicals prioritised for evaluation will also include:

  • chemicals unlikely to require further regulation to manage risks to health 
  • chemicals unlikely to require further regulation to manage risks to the environment.

Publishing the analysed risk information at the ESA stage will improve the flow of chemical safety information.

See more information about Evaluation Statements

Supporting evidence-based chemical substitution

Chemical groupings

Chemicals selected by industry to substitute those being phased out are frequently based on functional or structural similarity. We will continue to group chemicals for evaluation. We may base groupings on:

  • chemical structures
  • functional uses
  • common metabolites
  • degradation products

The grouping approach may include any potential substitutes that also meet the grouping rationale. Grouping allows us to make consistent decisions for similar chemicals or identify trends where more targeted recommendations apply to a subset of a chemical group. It will also increase the efficiency of our evaluation methods and maximise the use of available data.

The publication of this type of information will allow direct comparison of the hazards associated with the chemicals and identify any information gaps.

Chemicals in articles

Global reporting of the presence or absence of hazardous substances in articles is limited. The lack of information can:

  • prevent people from making informed choices
  • create a potential mismatch between the regulatory burden on manufacturers and importers of articles in Australia  
  • reduce the global pressure to find safer substitutes.

Under our laws, we can evaluate any industrial chemical or matters relating to an industrial chemical. This means we can evaluate chemicals introduced into Australia in articles. We can do this even if the chemical introduction is not subject to listing or categorisation requirements.

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