On November 1, 2022, New Zealand amended the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act of 1996 (HSNO Act) that legislates chemical substances management. The purpose of the amendment is to improve the transparency and speed of the evaluation process for hazardous substances.
Overview of Amendment
- Use of evaluations by international organizations
Approval for new substances can be fast tracked if the same use is already approved by an appropriate international regulatory agency, provided that there are no significant cultural, environmental, or human impacts.
- Management of Existing Hazardous Substances
Hazard classification and management of existing substances can be modified via a simplified modified reassessment to align with appropriate international regulatory agencies.
Criteria for selecting the appropriate international agency are included in the HSNO Act and a list of these agencies will be prepared through public consultation.
Reassessment Work Plan
In order to prioritize the reassessments initiated by the regulatory agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EPA plans to develop a work plan that includes an estimated timeframe for completion.
This work plan will be made open to the public and will be updated at least annually, leading to greater transparency in the reassessment program. Certain uses of substances may also be temporarily restricted during a reassessment if there are serious concerns about human or environmental impacts. In addition, the EPA has made it clear that it intends to set a sufficient transition period for changes in restrictions associated with reassessments through hearings with industry and the general public.
The related documents can be viewed from the following URLs:
- EPA press release on HSNO Act
- New Zealand Parliament Bills Office