New Zealand Suggests Modifications to Its Chemicals Law and Opened a Consultation

The New Zealand (Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is seeking to improve its Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) and has already published some suggestions. From August 19 to September 30, stakeholders can make their positions known as part of a public consultation.

The goal of the initiative is to replace hazardous chemicals with harmless alternatives more quickly. Although better substances often exist, they remain unused because the assessment required by import/export laws is too expensive for companies and the overall process takes too long. That’s the opinion of the David Parker, New Zealand’s minister for the environment, in the forward to a discussion paper, Hazardous Substances Assessment: Improving Decision-Making.

According to the document, the responsible agency, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), has reassessed 51 substances since 2001. Some 39 more that urgently require reassessment are now waiting in the queue.

The ministry urges that chemicals data already assessed elsewhere, such as in the EU, the United States, Australia, or Canada be accepted in New Zealand. It sees no need to reinvent the wheel.

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