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Australia Proposes Stricter Environmental Regulations on Persistent Organic Pollutants

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Australia is set to enact stringent regulations on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in a bid to bolster environmental protection and align with international standards. The proposed measures, outlined by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, are part of the Industrial Chemicals Environmental Management Standard (IChEMS) and have been put up for public consultation.

The IChEMS, developed by Australian governments, aims to effectively manage the environmental risks associated with industrial chemicals while providing consistent requirements for businesses across the country. Under the proposed changes, several chemicals and their mixtures and articles containing them will be assigned to different schedules of the IChEMS Register, prohibiting their import, manufacture, use, and export in Australia, with limited exceptions for unintentional trace contamination, research, environmentally sound disposal, and existing articles in use.

Key Proposals:

Schedule 7: Octabromodiphenyl ether, heptabromodiphenyl ether, hexabromodiphenyl ether, pentabromodiphenyl ether, and tetrabromodiphenyl ether, as well as hexabromocyclododecane, will be assigned to Schedule 7, prohibiting their use in Australia.

Schedule 6: Decabromodiphenyl ether and nonabromodiphenyl ether will be assigned to Schedule 6, with exceptions for specific essential uses, such as spare parts for aircraft, polyurethane foam for building insulation, and textile products requiring anti-flammable characteristics.

The proposed changes aim to enact standards for Stockholm Convention-listed POPs used in industry that Australia has not yet ratified. This move will help Australia fulfill its obligations under the Convention and provide better protection for the environment through improved management of industrial chemicals' environmental risks.

The public has been invited to provide comments on the proposed regulations, with a final date for comments set 60 days from the notification date. The proposed adoption date is by the end of 2023, with the regulations expected to enter into force on July 1, 2024 (for some chemicals) and July 1, 2025 (for others).



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