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Open for public comment: proposed amendments to the General Rules – closes 17 September 2021.

Step 5.5 Your environment risk for categorisation

The table on this page shows how you can work out your indicative environment risk by using your environment exposure band (step 5.3) and the environment hazard characteristics (step 5.4) that your chemical does or does not have. 

Get help with this step — explore our categorisation decision tools

We explain the table in detail for each environment exposure band that your introduction could be in. This includes what your indicative environment risk outcome will be, depending on which hazard characteristics your chemical does or does not have. Your outcome will be that your introduction has an indicative environment risk of:

  • Medium to high
  • Low OR
  • Very low

Refer back to step 5.4 for information about how to consider the hazard characteristics and where to start and stop when considering hazard characteristics.

Environment risk table

Work out your indicative environment risk Environment exposure band
1 2 3 4
Environment hazard band D Medium to high risk Medium to high risk Medium to high risk Medium to high risk
C Low risk Low risk Medium to high risk Medium to high risk
B Very low risk Low risk Low risk Medium to high risk
A Very low risk Very low risk Low risk Low risk
Not A, B, C or D Very low risk Very low risk Very low risk Very low risk

If your introduction is environment exposure band 1

If your introduction is in environment exposure band 1, at a minimum, you will need to consider if your chemical has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band D.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Medium to high if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands D OR
  • Low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band D

You can choose to stop if you get to low indicative environment risk.

If you want to see if your introduction could have a very low indicative environment risk, you will also need to consider if it has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band C.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Low if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band C OR
  • Very low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band C

If your introduction is environment exposure band 2

If your introduction is in environment exposure band 2, you will need to consider if your chemical has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band D.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Medium to high if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band D OR
  • Low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band D

You can choose to stop if you get to low indicative environment risk.

If you want to see if your introduction could have a very low indicative environment risk, you will also need to consider if it has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands C and B.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Low if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands C or B OR
  • Very low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands C or B

If your introduction is environment exposure band 3

If your introduction is in environment exposure band 3, you will first need to consider if your chemical has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band D. If it does not, then continue on to consider the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band C.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Medium to high if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands D or C OR
  • Low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands D or C

You can choose to stop if you get to low indicative environment risk.

If you want to see if your introduction could have a very low indicative environment risk, you will also need to consider if it has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands B and A.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Low if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands B or A OR
  • Very low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands B or A

If your introduction is environment exposure band 4

If your introduction is in environment exposure band 4, you will first need to consider if your chemical has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band D. If it does not, then continue on to consider the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band C. If it does not, then continue on to consider the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band B.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Medium to high if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands D, C or B OR
  • Low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard bands D, C or B

You can choose to stop if you get to low indicative environment risk.

If you want to see if your introduction could have a very low indicative environment risk, you will also need to consider if it has any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band A.

The indicative environment risk of your introduction will be:

  • Low if your chemical has 1 or more of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band A OR
  • Very low if your chemical does not have any of the hazard characteristics in environment hazard band A

'Special cases' - introductions that CANNOT have a very low indicative environment risk

Your introduction CANNOT have a very low indicative environment risk if it is a:

  • Organotin chemical OR
  • Polyhalogenated organic chemical OR
  • A chemical that has an end use as a biocidal active OR
  • A chemical that is introduced as a solid or a dispersion that is not soluble, that meets the nanoscale particle size criteria, and the introduction of the nanoscale portion of the chemical (the part that has a particle size range of 1nm to 100nm) is incidental to the introduction of the non-nanoscale portion

If your introduction is 1 of these, and you got a very low risk outcome in this step, you need to CHANGE that outcome to LOW RISK.

This means if your consideration of step 5.5 got you to an outcome of very low risk, your final outcome needs to be changed to low risk.

Definitions of these 'special cases'

Organotin chemicals are chemicals that contain at least 1 tin atom that is covalently bound to at least one carbon atom.

Polyhalogenated organic chemicals are carbon-based chemicals that contain more than 1 covalently bonded halogen atom, such as bromine, chlorine, fluorine or iodine.

Biocidal active is a chemical that is intended to act by chemical means on or against a harmful organism by destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, the harmful organism.

Nanoscale particle size criteria means that the chemical consists of particles in an unbound state or as an aggregate or agglomerate. At least 50% (by number size distribution) of the particles must have at least 1 external dimension in the particle size range of 1nm to 100nm (i.e. the nanoscale).

Not soluble means the solubility of the chemical in water is less than 33.3 g/L measured following OECD test guidelines 105 or 120 for water solubility; or the dissolution rate of the chemical is not more than 70%.

Next – go to step 6 to complete your categorisation 

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