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Substance exposure limit register

About exposure limits

Exposure limits for hazardous substances are set to help protect people and the environment, and to control exposure to hazardous substances in workplaces. 

Exposure limits are enforceable controls that are applied to approved substances.

On this page you can read about:

  • Tolerable exposure limits (TELs)
  • Workplace exposure standards (WESes)​
  • Environmental exposure limits (EELs).

    Tolerable exposure limits (TELs)

    Tolerable exposure limits (TELs) limit public exposure to toxic substances. They do not apply to a place of work if the public does not have access to that place.  

    'Toxic substances' are those with a HSNO classification in Class 6. 

    A TEL is the maximum concentration of a hazardous substance legally allowable in a particular environmental medium.

    Spreadsheet of tolerable exposure limits (Excel 100 kb, updated April 2015)

    Workplace exposure standards (WESes)

    Workplace exposure standards (WESes) are designed to protect people in their workplaces from the adverse effects of toxic substances. 

    The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is the primary agency responsible for setting workplace exposure standards. You can view their current list of standards on their website:

    Environmental exposure limits (EELs)

    An environmental exposure limit (EEL) establishes the maximum concentration of an ecotoxic substance that is legally allowable in a particular environmental medium (eg, water, soil or sediment). This includes the deposition of a substance onto surfaces (eg, via spray drift).

    In situations involving discharge (of effluent) into a receiving body of water, an EEL set for a substance in surface water may not be exceeded within the receiving water after ‘reasonable mixing’. The EEL will not apply directly at the point of discharge. 

    The spreadsheet below lists all the values that have been set as controls for approved substances and outlines which components and environmental medium the EEL applies to.

    Spreadsheet of environmental exposure limits (Excel, 50 kb, last updated April 2015)