Opportunity to share information on Stockholm Convention chemicals
We are inviting industry sectors and governments to share information on how they use and dispose of per and ploy fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals listed on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
This input will inform decisions about the future management of PFAS chemicals under the Industrial Chemicals and Environmental Management Standard (IChEMS).
IChEMS consultation on perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and related substances is open from 19 October 2022.
The IChEMS is focused on stronger, more consistent management of industrial chemicals to minimise harm to the environment in the first place. This industry-focused call for information is different to the current public consultation regarding the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP). The PFAS NEMP provides information on how to investigate, assess, and manage PFAS once it has entered the environment.
IChEMS aims to prevent pollution by providing nationally consistent standards to help industry and governments manage the environmental risks associated with industrial chemicals. This IChEMS consultation is seeking information on the import, use and disposal of PFAS substances listed on the Stockholm Convention, to inform beginning of supply chain management of these chemicals.
This call for information is most relevant to chemical importers, chemical manufacturers, the hazardous waste industry, and businesses that handle PFAS substances. This includes businesses that import, manufacture or use goods containing PFAS substances.
To have your say, visit our consultation hub before submissions close on 14 December 2022.
Improving chemicals regulation
Industrial chemicals are part of everyday life in Australia. However, if they’re not managed properly, these chemicals can cause pollution.
To reduce the risk of chemical pollution, all Australian governments are working together to implement the Industrial Chemicals Environmental Management Standard, or IChEMS.
The IChEMS is a national approach to managing chemical import, use and disposal. It will deliver more consistent regulation and make it easier for industry to choose less harmful chemicals.
Australia’s industrial chemicals roadmap sets out how Australia is delivering the new IChEMS framework.
It was developed collaboratively by the Commonwealth, states and territories and released in March 2022, following agreement by all Australian environment ministers.
IChEMS Minimum Standards
The IChEMS Minimum Standards set nationally consistent, practical, and risk-based baseline requirements for environmental management by businesses using industrial chemicals in Australia.
The standards align with existing environment, health, safety, and duty of care obligations. The standards are also designed to be adaptable to varying business needs and local requirements. This means that businesses will likely already meet all or most of the standards.
Businesses must also follow any additional guidance and requirements set by regulators for managing environmental risks. More information is available from your Commonwealth, state, or territory environmental regulator.
The IChEMS Minimum Standards will apply to all chemicals listed in the IChEMS Register, along with additional requirements where necessary to manage specific risks.
The IChEMS Register will be a record of chemical scheduling decisions made under the Industrial Chemicals Environment Management (Register) Act 2021 (ICEMR Act).
We expect the first scheduling decisions to be made by the end of 2022. The IChEMS Register instrument and a database of publicly accessible chemical scheduling decisions will be available to provide easy access to decisions.
More information on how we schedule chemicals is available on the IChEMS scheduling page.
Our scheduling strategy sets out our approach to selecting chemicals for IChEMS scheduling.
There are more than 40,000 industrial chemicals available for use in Australia. All of these chemicals are potential targets for scheduling.
Our main goal in scheduling industrial chemicals is to provide industry and regulators with information on environmental controls for chemicals being used in Australia.
In selecting chemicals for IChEMS scheduling we will balance:
- prioritising chemicals that need to be managed more urgently (chemicals of concern)
- providing information on the relative risks of chemicals, to support industry to make informed choices
- making the most of available information
- scheduling as many chemicals as soon as possible.
We have two early priorities for scheduling:
- Aligning IChEMS with existing chemical management frameworks. Risk assessments carried out under the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) will inform IChEMS scheduling decisions.
- Globally recognised industrial chemicals of concern, such as those listed in international conventions. We will initially prioritise those that aren't consistently controlled in Australia. The conventions of most interest are the:
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- Minamata Convention on Mercury
- Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.
Before identifying the next priority areas, we will consult with risk managers, governments and the community to focus on providing information they find most useful. For example, scheduling could prioritise:
- chemicals proposed for listing on international chemicals conventions
- chemicals controlled in countries with comparable safety standards
- chemicals of interest for supporting a safe circular economy
- alternatives for chemicals of concern
- opportunities for scheduling broad groups of chemicals, including low concern chemicals
- grouping chemicals for scheduling based on their function or use.
Our priority focus areas for scheduling chemicals from 2022 and 2023 are as follows.
- Chemicals with an AICIS assessment certificate
- Industrial chemicals listed under the Stockholm Convention but not yet ratified by Australia.
- Chemicals assessed under the AICIS evaluation Rolling Action Plan
- Aligning with existing or emerging Rotterdam, Stockholm and Minamata obligations.
Throughout 2022-23 we will consult to determine the next focus areas for scheduling, post-2023. This may include:
- chemicals of emerging concern
- lower concern chemicals, including alternatives for chemicals of concern
- chemical groups based on their function or use.
We will begin developing IChEMS scheduling workplans from 2023, including each year's focus areas and indicative chemical lists. These workplans will be informed by AICIS assessment activity as well as information gathered from our stakeholders.
We will continue to work closely with AICIS to align scheduling and assessment activities, including acting on new information from AICIS.
In 2022 we will be:
Finalising the legislative framework by making the IChEMS Decision-Making Principles and Rules. Once the first decisions are made we will establish the public IChEMS register.
Calling for information on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) listed on the Stockholm Convention: PFOS, PFHxS and PFOA related substances. These chemicals were used in many industries, based on information from overseas. In Australia the current uses of these chemicals may include:
- hard and decorative chromium plating
- a component of paints
- dyeing processes
- photographic films, including for medical imaging
- finished goods including textiles, carpets and non-stick metal cookware.
Consulting on draft IChEMS scheduling decisions for:
Persistent Organic Pollutants
CAS Registry Number*
36355-01-8 (and others)
Fire retardant for ABS plastics, coatings, lacquers, and polyurethane foams
Manufacture of rubber, chlorofluorocarbons and lubricants
70776-03-3 (and others)
Electrical devices, waterproofing (wood, paper and textiles), flame resistance and protection against insects, mould and fungus
Chemicals with AICIS assessment certificates
CAS Registry Number
Siloxanes and Silicones, di-Me, hydroxy-terminated, polymers with 3-(trimethoxysilyl)-N-[3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl]-1-propanamine
Component of hair
printing inks, 3D
printing and coatings
for industrial use
Fine fragrances, cosmetics and household products (such as air fresheners, sprays, candles)
4-Pentenal, 5-cyclohexyl-2,4-dimethyl-, (4E)-
Fine fragrances, cosmetic and household products (such as air fresheners, sprays, candles)
2-Propenoic acid, 2-methyl-, butyl ester, polymers with alkyl methacrylate, substituted-methylethyl-terminated hydrogenated polyalkene methacrylate, Me methacrylate and styrene
Automotive gear oils
*CAS Registry Number (CAS RN): a proprietary substance identification number assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS).
IChEMS Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee on the Environmental Management of Industrial Chemicals (IChEMS Advisory Committee) provides expert advice to the Minister on matters related to IChEMS scheduling. This includes environmental, social, and economic factors when scheduling high-concern chemicals.
The IChEMS Advisory Committee comprises a Chair and from three to eight other appointed members. The appointments for the first term of the committee commenced on 20 April 2022.
Dr Brian Richards (Chair), former Executive Director, Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme
Dr Richards is a former senior public servant with extensive experience in chemicals assessment and regulation.
Dr Richards was Executive Director of the Australian Industrial Chemical Introduction Scheme (AICIS) and its predecessor the National Industrial Chemical Introduction Scheme (NICNAS) from 2012 – 2020. He has held roles on more than 30 technical advisory bodies, including the OECD Chemicals Committee, the Health Policy Advisory Committee on Technology, and Chair of the Radiation Oncology Reform Implementation Committee.
Professor Derek Muir, Senior Research Scientist, Environment and Climate Change, Government of Canada
Professor Muir is a senior research scientist (Emeritus) and environmental chemist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Professor Muir holds adjunct positions in Canada at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, and in the Dept of Chemistry at University of Toronto. Professor Muir has served on several Canadian and international advisory committees. He was awarded the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Founder’s Award in 2000 for work on persistent organic pollutants. He is a SETAC Fellow and a Fellow of Canada’s national academy, the Royal Society of Canada, and of the Chemical Institute of Canada.
Dr Jenny Stauber, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Land and Water
Dr Stauber is a Chief Research Scientist at the Centre for Environmental Contaminants Research CSIRO Land and Water in Sydney.
Dr Stauber has over 40 years of experience with CSIRO, formerly as Deputy Chief and Acting Chief of Land and Water. She is a member of Australia’s Independent Expert Scientific Committee (IESC) on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development reporting to the Environment Minister. Dr Stauber has chaired and served as an expert ecotoxicologist on many World Health Organisation chemical review boards, together with the NSW EPA Board and a large number of other expert advisory panels. She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. She was a recipient of an Australian Museum Eureka Prize in 2006.
Professor Kerrie Wilson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability Strategy), Queensland University of Technology
Professor Kerrie Wilson is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability Strategy and Research Integrity) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Kerrie joined QUT in January 2019 and was the Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments. Before joining QUT Kerrie was the Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Queensland. She is also an Affiliated Professor in Conservation Science at The University of Copenhagen, a member of the Australian Heritage Council and member of the Reef 2050 Plan Independent Expert Panel. Kerrie has previously held leadership positions with NGOs, including Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy Australia.
Kerrie has two decades of experience leading and conducting research into the science, strategy and policy of conservation. She is particularly interested in applied resource allocation problems, such as how to invest limited resources to protect or restore biodiversity and what socio-political and institutional factors influence investment success in conservation.
Kerrie’s research has been published in high impact journals such as Nature and Science and involves collaborations with government agencies and NGOs at local, national and global levels. Kerrie has received numerous national awards, including the Prime Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal for Women in Science, two ARC Research Fellowships and an Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher.
Kerrie holds a Bachelor in Environmental Science (First Class Honours, awarded in 1999) from UQ and a PhD from The University of Melbourne (2004), undertaken in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, based in Cambridge.
Professor Mark Taylor, Chief Environmental Scientist, Environment Protection Authority Victoria
Mark Patrick Taylor is Victoria’s Chief Environmental Scientist at EPA Victoria, previously being a Professor of Environmental Science and Human Health at Macquarie University, Sydney, specialising in environmental contamination and the risks it can pose.
His research expertise covers environmental contamination in aerosols, dusts, sediments, soil, water and potential risks to human health. His work has focused on mining and smelting emissions and depositions, as well as contamination in urban environments. His work is genuinely global with research, consulting and expert advice covering Australia, Africa, Asia, Chile, New Caledonia, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, UK and the USA.
Professor Taylor’s work has a special focus on ‘human environments’ including analysis of blood lead levels in children, firefighter PFAS exposures, trace metals and microbes in bees, honey, wine, residential veggie patches, household dusts and drinking water. Topical research includes assessment of atmospheric trace metal emissions from wildfires, microplastics and human health risks and authentic and effective community engagement in environmental health science.
Professor Taylor is a top 2% of global scientist and a leading popular science writer with more than 3.6 million reads of his topical The Conversation articles.
Mark’s assessment of environmental contamination and the risks it can pose to the environment and human health has resulted in:
- Australia’s largest and longest blood lead level analysis of Australian children;
- The development of a national residential garden and household trace metal assessment program involving >7,000 homes;
- A world first randomised clinical treatment trial to remove PFAS from humans;
- Commissioned research for the Australian Building Codes Board that paved the way for the legislated reduction in the concentration of lead used in plumbing fittings from 4.5% to 0.25%.
Professor Sanghamitra Mahanty, ARC Future Fellow - Resources, Environment and Development Program, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University
Professor Sango Mahanty is a human geographer studying the politics of social and environmental transformations at the Australian National University Crawford School of Public Policy.
Professor Mahanty is an expert in social impact assessment, and teaches postgraduate courses examining the causes, implications and governance of environmental pollution and waste. Her field research over the last decade has been in mainland Southeast Asia, with extensive prior experience in Australia and the Asia-Pacific. In addition to her academic research and teaching, she has undertaken applied social research and provided policy advice for civil society and government. Professor Mahanty’s work has examined the drivers and social effects of water pollution, and the nexus between rural markets, environmental change and social inequality, and the impacts of major infrastructure projects.
Ms Tarah Hagen, Technical Discipline Manager – Toxicology and Risk Assessment, SLR Consulting Australia
Ms Hagen is a certified toxicologist with more than 14 years’ experience in conducting screening and detailed human health and ecological risk assessments for a variety of industries and government.
Ms Hagen’s work covers industrial emissions, contaminated land and water, consumer goods and food. She has written and co-written numerous major reports, which have been influential in shaping Australian health risk assessment methodology and policy decisions in relation to environmental issues. She has also been involved in several complex human health risk assessment for occupational and public exposure to per and poly fluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS). This work has included reviewing and interpreting toxicology information for consideration of appropriate toxicity reference values, delineating potential exposure pathways, as well as estimating and interpreting internal exposure metrics with respect to human health.
The Industrial Chemicals Environmental Management Standard (IChEMS) Advisory Committee convened for the first time on 3 June 2022.
This introductory meeting focused on the role and operation of the Committee.
Members discussed and agreed to meeting procedures and the publication of meeting outcomes. Members noted their statutory obligations, including in relation to conflicts of interest.
The Committee was provided with an opportunity to comment on draft Terms of Reference and the IChEMS Decision-Making Principles.
The Committee noted background information on the IChEMS framework and discussed its role in achieving the objectives of IChEMS.
The Committee agreed to reconvene in September 2022 to consider the first batch of draft scheduling decisions.
IChEMS Register charges
A cost recovery framework is being developed to recover scheduling costs from introducers of industrial chemicals who import or manufacture chemicals.
Fees will be determined after industry consultation later in 2022. Fee collection will coincide with the AICIS annual invoicing period.
IChEMS fee collection is currently due to commence from 1 September 2023.
Public consultation on draft legislation for the National Standard for Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals (now known as IChEMS) was undertaken in 2020. An archived version of this consultation material is available.
To ask us a question or to subscribe for IChEMS updates, email us at email@example.com