Environmental Protection Authority to demand ‘100 times’ more data on use of chemicals

2022-03-03

A new report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has found the country is largely ignorant about how much is used and where, even of some seriously risky chemicals and others that build up to toxic levels over time.

One of its key recommendations is the EPA expand its powers to require much more data from chemical importers, manufacturers and sellers.

EPA chief executive Dr Allan Freeth said it would bring in new rules later this year to switch from collecting data voluntarily on just a few chemicals, to demanding more of it about many more substances.

“It’ll be 100 times more probably. I was going to use something like, [from getting] 10 books in a bookshop, you know, to getting the whole bookshop sort of thing,” Freeth told RNZ.

“So yeah, we would expect we’d be getting a lot more information.

“We want a much wider capture system to actually understand the volumes and amounts of the chemicals or hazardous substances that are coming into the country, and where they’re going to.”

He acknowledged the whole system was fragmented across four regulators (EPA, Ministry for Primary Industries, Medsafe and WorkSafe) and had a long way to go to be good enough, but they lacked funding to get there.

“We need funding for reassessing our priority chemical list – we’ve got some extra funding for that, but it’s nowhere near enough.”

The EPA needed further funding to import the latest chemical modelling and adapt it.

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RNZ, 3-03-22 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/462685/environmental-protection-authority-to-demand-100-times-more-data-on-use-of-chemicals