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Safe Work Australia Guidance Includes Advice on Fine Dusts and Nanomaterials

In August 2018, Safe Work Australia (SWA) issued a national guide on classifying hazardous chemicals.  SWA intends the guidance for manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures, and articles who have a duty under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations to classify them.  SWA suggests that the guidance may also be useful for suppliers, persons undertaking business and undertakings, workers, and other persons involved with hazardous chemicals.  The guidance provides advice on specific situations, including fine dusts and nanomaterials.  The guidance states that particles in the “nano” scale (one billionth of a meter) may exhibit characteristics unlike similar materials examined at larger scales and must be appropriately classified.  According to the guidance, if the health hazards of nanoparticles are not fully characterized, it is recommended that an appropriate safety data sheet (SDS) be prepared and the container is labeled:

  • Contains engineered/manufactured nanomaterials. Caution:  Hazards unknown; or
  • Contains engineered/manufactured nanomaterials. Caution:  Hazards not fully characterized.

The guidance states that “[t]hese phrases are to be used on an interim basis only, as the manufacturer or importer has a duty to correctly classify the chemical and include information on known hazards on the label and within the SDS.”

©2020 Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 303

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About this Author

Lynn Bergeson, Campbell PC, Toxic Substances Control Act Attorney, federal insecticide lawyer, industrial biotechnology legal counsel, Food Drug Administration law
Managing Partner

Lynn L. Bergeson has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and especially how these regulatory programs pertain to nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. Her knowledge of and involvement in the policy process allows her to develop client-focused strategies whether...

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Carla Hutton, Bergeson Campbell PC, global regulatory attorney, public health activists lawyer, metals industry legal counsel, Toxic Substances Control Act law
Regulatory Analyst

Since 1996, Carla Hutton has monitored, researched, and written about regulatory and legislative issues that may potentially affect Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) clients. She is responsible for creating a number of monthly and quarterly regulatory updates for B&C's clients, as well as other documents, such as chemical-specific global assessments of regulatory developments and trends. She authors memoranda for B&C clients on regulatory and legislative developments, providing information that is focused, timely and applicable to client initiatives. These tasks have proven invaluable to many clients, keeping them aware and abreast of developing issues so that they can respond in kind and prepare for the future of their business.

Ms. Hutton brings a wealth of experience and judgment to her work in federal, state, and international chemical regulatory and legislative issues, including green chemistry, nanotechnology, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Proposition 65, and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program.

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