About the programme

We review the hazardous substances that are already approved in New Zealand.

All hazardous substances need approval to be used in New Zealand. Approvals for hazardous substances do not expire, and the only way approvals for hazardous substances can change or be taken away is through a formal reassessment process. Reassessments can be complex, lengthy, and costly. 

Deciding which chemicals to review and reassess

Chemicals are screened and reviewed

We, the EPA, screen hundreds of chemicals using a tool that assesses their risk to our health and to the environment. We then prioritise those chemicals that we believe present the greatest risk, and that need further review and scrutiny. This is called the priority chemicals list.

We are constantly reviewing the list as new information becomes available, and as we screen further chemicals.

Our work with international partners to peer review our screening approach demonstrates it is in line with internationally accepted practices.

See the priority chemicals list

Find out how we screen chemicals

There is new information or an emerging issue about a chemical

Our knowledge about chemicals and their effects increases every day through advances in science and technology. New information may show that a chemical poses more (or less) risk to human or environmental health than we knew about when it was originally approved for use in New Zealand. As new types of risks are identified for particular chemicals, we prioritise these emerging issues for review.

In those cases, we may apply for a reassessment.

Getting a chemical reassessed

Anyone, including the EPA, can apply to have an approved hazardous substance reviewed for reassessment.

A reassessment can cover a single substance or a group of related substances.

There is a two-step process

  1. Make a formal application to find out if there are grounds for reassessment. The information we receive, as well as our own research and analysis, is used by a decision-making committee to decide if there are grounds. 
  2. If grounds exist, submit an application. Include information that supports the application. We will work with an applicant to ensure all required information is received before we progress with an application. There may also be public consultation and a hearing.

Find out more about the chemical reassessment process

How to apply for reassessment or amendment

Find out what we are currently consulting on

A decision is made 

The decision is made by a two- or three-person decision-making committee. This is a sub-group of our HSNO Committee.

The decision-making committee can decide to:

  • increase or change the controls, or rules, around the chemical's use
  • ban the chemical
  • make no change to the existing approval.

See who is on the HSNO committee

Contact us

For questions or comments about the chemical reassessment programme please email us at reassessments@epa.govt.nz