Reactions to the first consultation paper on reforms to Australia’s National Industrial Chemicals and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) have highlighted a number of concerns over international risk assessment, matrix banding and existing chemicals.
A wide range of responses were received from FMCG giants, such as Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and Johnson & Johnson, to international regulatory bodies and ingredients firms.
The industry, government and NGO responses were united in the view that Nicnas should accept more international risk assessments, automatically categorizing products that already comply with international regulation, such as the EU Cosmetics Regulation, as low risk.
“As a percentage of the total cosmetic products sold around the world Australia represents’ less than 2 percent of world trade however, Australia has installed a unique set of rules and processes that in effect leads to nothing more than added cost and delays getting new products onto the market,” commented Estée Lauder Australia. “Cosmetics should not be regulated as industrial chemicals – they are consumer personal care products and the ingredients used are chemicals specifically designed for this purpose.”
As for the chemical matrix, which would see substances classified as class 1,2 or 3, the general consensus was that the proposed system was highly complex, limited in scope, and liable to be confused with other regulations. The proposed reforms were criticised for concentrating overly on new chemicals too, thus failing to address the existing unassessed chemicals listed on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances.