Federal government slashes chemical regulations

Cancer Council Australia, unions and public health advocates have expressed alarm over proposed federal government changes to industrial chemical regulations.

The changes mean more than 99% of new industrial chemicals will not be officially assessed for threats to public health and the environment before being introduced to the public.

Under a bill introduced by Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie, industry would self-assess whether a chemical new to Australia was low-risk and therefore "exempt", meaning it could be brought to market without being reported to the regulator or having its safety assessed.

Under the proposed regime just 0.75% of new chemicals would be assessed before they are used by industry.

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