Categorisation of fluorinated chemicals
Extra information to help you categorise the importation and manufacture (introduction) of fluorinated chemicals.
Who should read this?
Importers and manufacturers of industrial chemicals (and products that are designed to release industrial chemicals) who are working out whether their importation/manufacture (introduction) of a fluorinated chemical will be an exempted, reported or assessed introduction. This information should be read before the chemical is introduced in Australia. You must read this in conjunction with our categorisation guide.
What is a fluorinated chemical?
A fluorinated chemical is a chemical that contains one or more fluorine atoms.
Fluorinated chemicals, including per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFAS), are commonly used in products to add resistance to heat, resistance to other chemicals, and resistance to abrasion, and also act as dispersion, wetting or surface treatment agents.
They may have long-term effects on human health and the environment.
Your introduction of a fluorinated chemical is a ‘specified class of introduction’ if it:
- contains a sequence of 4 to 20 fully fluorinated carbon atoms (including per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances, known as PFAS), or
- meets the definition of a polyhalogenated organic chemical.
To categorise introductions of other fluorinated chemicals that do not meet either of the above definitions, read our categorisation guide.
We have an increased level of concern for specified classes of introductions, due to a greater potential for particular hazards or high levels of human or environmental exposure. For this reason, there may be additional or different requirements when working out your category of introduction as well as additional record keeping obligations.
Our increased level of concern for introductions of chemicals that contain a sequence of 4 to 20 fully fluorinated carbon atoms (including PFAS) is because these chemicals, or their degradation products, may be persistent in the environment, bioaccumulate and be highly toxic. The additional or different requirements arising from these concerns are outlined below.
Is this introduction exempted, reported or assessed?
You must work out if your introduction meets the criteria for the exempted or reported category by going through steps 1-6 of the categorisation guide. If your introduction does not meet the criteria for the exempted or reported category, it will be an assessed introduction (unless you meet the criteria for a commercial evaluation authorisation).
The additional or different requirements to be aware of when working out your category of introduction of chemicals that contain a sequence of 4 to 20 fully fluorinated carbon atoms are at:
What is the human health risk?
The indicative human health risk for the introduction of chemicals containing a sequence of greater than or equal to 4, but no more than 20, fully fluorinated carbon atoms is medium to high risk. This means that it is an assessed introduction.
What is the environment risk?
The indicative environment risk for the introduction of chemicals containing a sequence of 4 to 20 fully fluorinated carbon atoms is medium to high risk. This means that it is an assessed introduction.
Additional record keeping obligations
There are no unique records that must be kept based on the introduction of a fluorinated chemical. For record keeping requirements that apply to all chemical introductions see our guidance on compliance, reporting and record keeping obligations.