Submissions to the 2012 Review of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme–Beiersdorf Australia Limited

The Discussion Paper: Review of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)–June 2012 was released on 1 June 2012. Submissions were received betweeen 1 June and 27 July 2012. The comments received from this consultation process will be used to inform the government of stakeholder views.

Page last updated: 17 October 2012

PDF printable version of Beiersdorf Australia Limited submission (PDF 63 KB)

Beiersdorf Australia Limited
ABN 98 000 025 623

4 Khartoum Road, North Ryde NSW 2113
PO Box 139, North Ryde NSW 1670
T +61 2 9888 0977
F +61 2 9887 3487

Ken Lee
Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Manager
T +61 2 9888 0920
F +61 2 9805 1688
M +61 0 410 576 548

Dear Madam/Sir:

NICNAS Review – Submission of Comment from Consultation Period
‘Chemicals in Cosmetics’

Beiersdorf Australia Limited is the organisation behind the iconic ‘NIVEA’ skincare brand in Australia. We are thus an introducer of cosmetic chemicals in Australia and interact with NICNAS in accordance with our regulatory responsibilities.

We appreciate the opportunity to provide comment to the NICNAS Review Discussion Paper of June 2012 released under the auspices of the Commonwealth Departments of Health and Ageing, and Finance and Deregulation. This NICNAS Review is most welcomed as further consideration of reform for cosmetic products is long overdue and has the potential for delivering significant benefits presently stymied from and denied to the Australian consumer. These comments specifically address items H1 & H2 of the NICNAS Review of June 2012 as elaborated in the heading ‘Chemicals in Cosmetics’ (p39-41).

We have worked closely with our Industry Association – Accord Australasia in formulating its two previous submissions to the BRMP Review process, which built on the Productivity Commission’s recommendation 4.3 to limit NICNAS’ role to that of a scientific assessment body. Accord’s submissions had very clearly articulated and discussed the very real issues we continue to face through the impact of NICNAS’ processes on our operations. Sadly, much of the content captured in those submissions appears to have been ignored in this NICNAS Review Discussion Paper, yet however remain imminently valid.

We maintain the view already put forward that insofar as chemicals in cosmetics are concerned, NICNAS’ role should be limited to that of a scientific assessment body. Unsurprisingly therefore, we very much support the option to transfer responsibility for adminstration and enforcement of the Cosmetics Standard 2007 from NICNAS to the ACCC.

With regard to the possible option to introduce new provisions into the ICNA Act to specifically deal with chemicals in cosmetics, we would fully support all moves to shift cosmetics chemicals away from industrial chemicals and under the responsibility of the ACCC. As the recent reforms of products at the cosmetic/therapeutic interface has shown, the ICNA Act is unable to accommodate reform for these low risk products and the regulatory burden has in fact increased, rather than decreased, for these products which were transferred from the therapeutic goods regime through Exclusion to the industrial chemicals regime. The only exception to this was the lighter touch for GMP requirements for secondary sunscreens. The new provisions should be along the lines suggested in the Discussion Paper through better alignment with other international approaches such as adoption of an EU style directive and this should definitely present the first point of exploration.

The need to expend resources in re-assessing chemicals in cosmetics already assessed by national agencies in comparable economies, and in most cases, significantly larger economies, remains one which is difficult to justify. The argument frequently proferred is that this is necessary to protect the Australian consumer – yet perversely, the opposite effect is more often the reality. The disproportionate burden of NICNAS’ approach in the assessment of chemicals in cosmetics means that safer, more environmentally acceptable, more effective chemicals are not introduced to the Australian market.

The market in New Zealand illustrates this case where more sophisticated later generation cosmetic chemicals are present without inherently putting the New Zealand consumer at risk. Essentially, we suggest Australia adopts a harmonised recognition of equivalence or products from similar economies such as Canada, US, New Zealand and Japan.

The adoption of these options for reform – or lack thereof - would have significant impact for our organisation. Significant resources are taken in maintaining and fulfiling regulatory burdens with very little real net consumer benefit, illustrated by the annual reporting burden of LRCC chemicals. The annual reporting burden particuarly has demonstrated creeping regulatory impositions which serve very little effective purpose, yet which we remain committed to in cognizance of our regulatory responsibilities.

We trust this submission of comments may be considered in the Review. Should any further information be required, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned directly.

Yours sincerely

Ken Lee
Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Manager

A full list of all 2012 submissions can be viewed at June 2012 submissions to the review of NICNAS.