Registration and approval of wood preservatives in Australia and New Zealand
Wood preservatives are treated as agricultural chemicals in Australia and, at the time of writing, as pesticides in New Zealand. Antisapstain products are currently considered to be agricultural chemicals in New Zealand while wood preservatives in the future will be considered as hazardous substances under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act when this Act is fully implemented. They are regulated and approved for use by Government Departments under Ministers with responsibilities for agriculture and forestry and the environment: in Australia this is the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry; in New Zealand it is the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and, in the future, the Ministry for the Environment. Specific authorities within these Government instrumentalities control the registration and approvals procedures - the National Registration Authority (NRA) in Australia and, currently, the Pesticides Board in New Zealand. The latter situation is in a transition phase, with the Environment Risk Management Authority (ERMA) New Zealand expected to take over from the Pesticides Board by mid-2001. The NRA and the Pesticides Board require data packages that must include details of the preservative's application, chemistry, manufacture, toxicology, environmental credentials, and efficacy. The NRA administers the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code, which provides the Authority with the power to evaluate, register for use, and regulate the point of sale of a preservative. The evaluation procedure may involve Environment Australia in focusing on exposure and environmental toxicity data, the Department of Health and Aged Care in assessing toxicity to humans and the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission considering user safety aspects. Efficacy data can be obtained through testing to the Australasian Wood Preservation Committee (AWPC) Protocols. AWPC members may also act as experts in the assessment process and may also be involved in the development of national Standards. Thus, there is a ready conduit from registration and approval of a potential preservative to its incorporation for end use into day-to-day working standards.