The Australian Government works with governments of other countries to ensure PFAS is managed according to international best practice.
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is an international agreement which aims to protect human health and the environment from POPs. Chemicals listed under the Convention are subject to elimination or restriction, as well as waste management requirements. Australia ratified the agreement in 2004.
PFOS and PFOA were listed on the Stockholm Convention after Australia ratified the agreement. Australia undertakes a domestic treaty making process to determine whether to ratify any amendments to the Convention, including any new chemicals listing. Australia is yet to ratify the listing of PFOS or PFOA under the Convention.
To ratify the listing of PFOS and PFOA under the Stockholm Convention, Australia must first be able to meet the associated management obligations. To enable this, governments are working together to establish a National Standard for the Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals. The National Standard will set a nationally consistent environmental management approach for the use and disposal of industrial chemicals, including PFAS. The National Standard will be established by Commonwealth framework legislation, and implemented through regulatory frameworks in each jurisdiction. Read more about the National Standard on the Department of the Environment and Energy website.
Some PFAS are also listed on the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. The Rotterdam Convention promotes the exchange of information, particularly about exports. Australia is a party to the Rotterdam Convention and acts in accordance with its requirements.
Since 2012, the Australian Government has been part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Perfluorinated Chemicals Group. The group works to reduce emissions of PFAS of concern, with the aim of global elimination where possible. More information can be found on the OECD Portal on PFAS.