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Beyond the Bale : Feb - Mar 08 Supplement
By AWI's Clare Walsh While the international consumer trend towards healthy and sustainable lifestyles provides a market opportunity for the wool industry, increasing chemical regulation and legislation in major markets are also forcing the industry towards similar environmental targets. All sectors of the industry need to be aware of legislation and standards that may have an impact on wool products. In June 2007, the European Community introduced the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) regulation, which aims to : ú increase legal protection of human health and the environment; ú fill knowledge gaps about the properties of many chemical substances; and ú reverse the burden of proof from authorities to industry -- manufacturers must show that chemical substances used in production are safe before products can be sold in the EU. Where a substance of potential concern makes up 0.1 per cent or more by weight of an article, the importer, manufacturer or even retailer "shall provide the recipient of the article with sufficient information, available to the supplier, to allow safe use of the article including, as a minimum, the name of that substance". REGULATORY COMPLIANCE AFFECTS CHEMICAL USE Processors of Australian wool are immediately affected by a new EU regulation requiring impor ters, manufacturers and even retailers to inform customers about potentially hazardous chemicals in ar ticles sold All manufacturers and importers need to identify and quantify chemicals used in their products, assess how much could be released into the environment, check it has been registered under REACH and, if not, get it registered. This requirement to inform customers about potentially hazardous chemicals kicks in irrespective of the overall volume of the chemical present in a product over one year. Those chemicals which have been deemed harmful are more expensive to register than chemicals regarded as less harmful. This regulation immediately affects processors of Australian wool, where dyes and other chemical preparations are used. AWI has commissioned CSIRO to conduct an audit on the wool-processing supply chain to identify the compatibility and gaps in current processing methods in the context of incoming legislation. The ultimate goal is for AWI to support processors though education about any changes they need to make to ensure their products can continue to be imported into the EU and other major markets as similar legislation comes into effect. In 2008, in conjunction with the China-- Australia Wool uality Working Group, AWI is planning more in-country training with Chinese processors, focusing on early-stage processing and the environmental impacts of processing. The implications of REACH will be a focus in these sessions. ú More information: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/ chemicals/reach/reach_intro.htm New EU regulations on chemical use will affect processors of Australian wool. TRENDS ECO-TRENDS SUPPLEMENT BEYOND THE BALE 5 Reducing pesticide residues Most chemical residues in wool are found in the wool grease and not on the wool fibre, but there is a growing demand for low-residue wool because of issues with wool scouring effluent. Pesticide residues in wool come mainly from lice and flystrike treatments.The highest residue levels generally result from long wool treatments or incorrect chemical use, but some post-shearing treatments can also leave high residues. Strategies such as treating only when lice are detected, avoiding long wool treatments where possible, and choosing chemicals that break down rapidly will help keep residue levels low. The WoolRes tool on AWI's LiceBoss website allows you to calculate the residues expected from use of any registered treatment. 'WoolRes' estimates the expected pesticide residue on wool at shearing after the application of common lice and flystrike treatments.This applies when the whole mob is treated, not where individual sheep or a small number of sheep in the mob are treated. More information:To access WoolRes and guidelines for preparing EU Ecolabel wool go to www.liceboss.com. au/lice_info/info_residues.html
Dec - Jan 08
Feb - Mar 08