Product categories

Product categoriesChemicals in consumer products

Chemicals in consumer products

Many chemical substances are essential in small amounts for the human body to function but larger amounts can become harmful. Even water and oxygen can be lethal to people if they are exposed to excessive amounts. While many people believe that naturally occurring substances are safer than synthetic chemicals, some naturally occurring chemicals are very poisonous. 

Modern society uses tens of thousands of chemicals in everyday products. Alcohol, cosmetics, household adhesives and cleaning products, insect sprays, paints, petrol, weed killers, foods and medicines are just a few examples. Although many common products contain chemicals that can be harmful if used incorrectly, consumers generally understand and accept the risks and benefits of using these products.

Monitoring chemical safety in consumer products

The ACCC and state and territory consumer product safety regulators play an active role in:

  • investigating potential chemical hazards in consumer products
  • developing bans and mandatory standards where evidence shows a consumer product has or could cause injury, illness or death.
  • Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)—food, beverages and packaging.
  • The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)—building products.
  • The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA)—environmental contaminants in hazardous waste.
  • The Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)—agricultural and veterinary medicines and swimming and spa pool sanitisers.
  • The National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC)—poisons and household cleaners and chemicals. 
  • The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)—industrial chemicals used in manufacturing, products, building and construction and for chemicals in cosmetics. NICNAS prohibits or restricts harmful use of chemicals in these products through:
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for therapeutic goods and medicines.

A voluntary scheme has also been initiated by the Advocate for the Consumer, Cosmetic, Hygiene and Speciality Products Industry (ACCORD).

View Regulator of specific products for contact details of the above authorities.

Alerts

With Christmas toys now running out of steam and probably needing a battery change, there are a few things to consider when using and changing lithium batteries.

© Copyright ACCC 2014 Contact us | Site map | Glossary | New on site | Help | Privacy | Disclaimer & copyright | Accessibility | Login | Chinese language information page 中文信息