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Hazardous Substances and Chemicals

Environmental Protection Agency to take over administration of graphic material for children

From 1 January 2017 the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will take over the administration of graphic material intended for children (such as crayons, finger paints, and children’s water colour paints) under the Graphic Materials Group Standard 2009.

The Graphic Materials Group Standard 2009 sets maximum permissible levels of heavy metals (such as lead, mercury and chromium) in graphic materials intended for children, in order to protect the health of the children who use those products.

Importers will need a permit number from the EPA in order for Customs to clear those goods at the border.

The application form, and more information about the process can be found on the EPA website here: EPA website, or by emailing the EPA.

Importers are recommended to submit applications and supporting evidence well in advance of the shipment arriving in New Zealand, to ensure their goods can be cleared by customs.

Applications, along with supporting documentation should be emailed to the EPA

Applications for graphic materials for trade or distribution must be accompanied by a full Bill of Lading, a full commercial invoice, and laboratory test reports (that clearly correspond to the items being imported). If the laboratory testing has been carried out overseas, confirmation from IANZ that the testing has been carried out by a suitably accredited laboratory.

See the IANZ website here for more information. 

Hazardous Substances

Proper management of hazardous substances from beginning to the end of their lifecycle, is necessary to avoid adverse health effects from either direct exposure or environmental contamination.

For more information about hazardous substances and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act see the website of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)

The Ministry of Health has launched a health education website, which contains information pamphlets for the general public:

Useful pamphlets from HealthEd that relate to environmental health include:

  • Guidelines for the Management of Lead-Based Paint.
  • Lead and Lead Poisoning.
  • Repainting Lead-Based Paint.
  • All About Asbestos.
  • Removing Asbestos from the Home.

These can also be found in the PDF versions below:


The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides best practice information and guidance to assist New Zealand businesses with health and safety in the workplace. Its occupational safety and health (OSH) website publishes and updates systematic guidelines and information on lead-based paint and asbestos which are available at:

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Imported Products (Graphics)

Lead Mercury Vertebrate Toxic Agents Other helpful websites include:

Contact the Duty Health Protection Officer (Environmental Health) for any concern or enquiries over hazardous substances on (09) 623 4600.

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