Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Carcinogens, mutagens and teratogens - research grant approval

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

Chief investigators must gain approval to use carcinogenic substances listed in the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations in research.

The UWA Carcinogenic and Mutagenic Substances Committee and State Government's WorkSafe must approve the use of substances listed in schedules 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6 of the Occupational Safety Health Regulations 1996. The substances are listed below.

  1. Assessing risk and ensuring safety
  2. Approval process
  3. Schedule 5.4 Carcinogenic substances to be used only for bona fide research
  4. Schedule 5.5 Carcinogenic substances to be used only for purposes approved by the Commissioner
  5. Schedule 5.6 Carcinogenic substances asbestos

Assessing risk and ensuring safety

Responsibility for the health and safety aspects of a research project rests with the project's chief investigator, who must ensure that comprehensive risk assessments are performed, adequate facilities are available and suitable procedures are adopted to conduct the research in a safe manner.

This list of substances does not comprehensively cover potential or known carcinogens, and the onus is on the individual researchers to do thorough risk assessments and treat all chemicals with caution. For guidance, see the ChemAlert, Material Safety Data Sheet(s) for the chemical(s) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Alternatives to the use of potent carcinogens, mutagens or teratogens should always be considered in the first instance. Safety and Health is happy to provide advice on the use of carcinogenic substances and possible alternatives.

Approval process

To obtain clearance for the use of scheduled carcinogens, mutagens and teratogens, follow this procedure.

Although approval is not required for the use of non-scheduled carcinogens, we recommend that you complete the form as part of the risk assessment.

  1. Complete Part A of the approval form for experiments involving the use of scheduled carcinogens/mutagens/teratogens (below), including the safety data section for each chemical to be used. Please type information onto the form.
  2. Send three copies of the form and research application cover sheet to Safety and Health.
  3. An evaluation of the safety of the project will be undertaken based upon the details given. A physical inspection of the facilities may also be necessary.
  4. Following evaluation by the Secretary of the Carcinogenic and Mutagenic Substances Committee, a recommendation will be made to the Chairman of the Carcinogenic and Mutagenic Substances Committee for approval for the use of the chemical(s).
  5. The form, indicating approval, will be returned to the chief investigator to accompany the application to the relevant funding body.
  6. Submit the form to WorkSafe Commissioner for approval.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 requires manufacturers, importers and suppliers of substances to provide adequate data on their safe use, handling, processing, storage, transportation and disposal. Researchers are advised to only purchase products with such information provided, which will assist in completion of the approval form.

If a researcher is experiencing difficulty completing the form through lack of information, contact Safety and Health on (+61 8) 6488 3938.

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Schedule 5.4 Carcinogenic substances to be used only for bona fide research [Regulation 5.28]

Note: The number in square brackets is the substance's chemical abstract number.

  • 2-Acetylaminofluorene [53 96 3]
  • Aflatoxins
  • 4-Aminodiphenyl [92 67 1]
  • Benzidine [92 87 5] and its salts (including benzidine dihydrochloride [531 85 1])
  • bis(chloromethyl) ether [542 88 1]
  • Chloromethyl methyl ether [107 30 2] (technical grade containing bis(chloromethyl) ether)
  • 4-Dimethylaminoazobenzene [60 11 7]
  • 2-Naphthylamine [91 59 8] and its salts
  • 4-Nitrodiphenyl [92 93 3]

Schedule 5.4 amended in Gazette 30 Dec 2003 p. 5743.

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Schedule 5.5 Carcinogenic substances to be used only for purposes approved by the Commissioner [Regulation 5.28]

Note: The substance's chemical abstract number appears in square brackets.

  • Acrylonitrile [107 13 1]
  • Benzene [71 43 2] when used as a feedstock and containing more than 50 per cent of benzene by volume
  • Cyclophosphamide [50 18 0] (cytotoxic drug) when used in preparation for therapeutic use in hospitals and oncological treatment facilities and in manufacturing operations
  • 3,3-Dichlorobenzidine [91 94 1] and its salts (including 3,3-dichlorobenzidine dihydrochloride [612 83 9]
  • Diethyl sulfate [64 67 5]
  • Dimethyl sulfate [77 78 1]
  • Ethylene dibromide [106 93 4] when used as a fumigant
  • 4,43 Methylene bis(2-chloroaniline) [101 14 4] MOCA
  • Beta-Propiolactone [57 57 8] (2-propiolactone)
  • o-Toluidine [95 53 4] and o-Toluidine hydrochloride [636 21 5]
  • Vinyl chloride monomer [75 01 4]

Schedule 5.5 amended in Gazette 30 Dec 2003 p. 5743.

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Schedule 5.6 Carcinogenic substances asbestos [Regulation 5.28]

Note: The number in square brackets is the substance's chemical abstract number.

  • Actinolite asbestos [77536 66 5]
  • Amosite [12172 73 5] (brown asbestos)
  • Anthophyllite asbestos [77536 67 5]
  • Crocidolite [12001 28 4] (blue asbestos)
  • Chrysotile [12001 29 5] (white asbestos)
  • Tremolite asbestos [77536 68 6]

Schedule 5.6 inserted in Gazette 30 Dec 2003 p. 5743.

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