Hazard classification changes for benzyl alkonium chlorides

03 June 2020

We have updated the hazard classification for benzyl alkonium chlorides (BACs), substances found in a variety of disinfectants and detergents.

BACs are a family of compounds which have diverse uses, including in pesticides, preservatives, veterinary medicines, and timber treatments.

We found there were grounds to carry out a “modified reassessment” of these substances, based on significant new information from reviews in the USA, Canada, and Australia.

A Decision-making Committee has now found that proposed changes to the hazard classification for BACs would have an overall positive effect and the risks are considered to be negligible with the appropriate rules in place.

The changes include more accurate labelling of these substances, and the introduction of environmental hazard classifications for some BACs, which were not previously in place.

A hazard classification represents the harm that could be caused by a substance, and determines which controls (or rules) must be followed when handling it. A modified reassessment cannot revoke an existing approval (or “ban” a substance). Rather, it is about making sure our hazard classifications are in line with others internationally, and that risks are being managed accordingly.

There are approximately 9,000 approvals relating to around 150,000 substances that are used in New Zealand. Part of our role as a regulator is to monitor and review new information generated internationally on these chemicals.

Read the BACs modified reassessment decision