Regulating chemicals in NSW

A guide to understanding the laws about chemicals, licences, and chemical control orders.

The EPA is responsible for administering this legislation, in partnership with other state government agencies.

While chemicals and their use are regulated in several ways, the Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985 (EHC Act) is the primary legislation for specifically regulating environmentally hazardous chemicals throughout their life cycle. The Act sets out requirements for

  • chemical control orders (CCOs) which are used to manage specified hazardous chemicals and chemical wastes – there are five existing CCOs in NSW
  • technology assessments, which ensure that premises treating or destroying chemicals are safe and appropriate for their purpose
  • licensing of individuals or industries who manage chemicals that are subject to a CCO.

The introduction of new regulatory frameworks since the EHC Act commenced have led to changes in the way some chemicals are regulated.

  • Assessments of new and existing industrial chemicals are undertaken by the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS)
  • Contaminated sites, air and water pollution, and waste management are regulated under other specific NSW legislation
  • Pesticide control and use is regulated under other specific NSW legislation.

In addition to the EHC Act, the EPA and other government agencies regulate chemicals under other legislation.

Legislation administered by the EPA

Legislation administered by Department of Primary Industries (DPI)

Legislation relating to food, health and work safety

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