Australian Government Issues Chemical Warning

The Australian government recently issued a warning regarding several common household chemicals that can be used to make homemade explosives. Attorney-General Nicola Roxon noted that many everyday chemicals can be used in terrorist attacks, including those found in salons, pharmacies, dairies, mining, fireworks, pools and spas. She stressed that the public therefore plays an important role in protecting the country's national security.

The Australian government released a consultation paper that offers four options to prevent future terrorist attacks: (1) a targeted awareness campaign; (2) industry codes; (3) a government code of practice; and (4) regulation.

The consultation paper identifies the third option - a government code of practice - as the most preferred in terms of both costs and benefits. Under this option, the government would develop a single code of practice to inform businesses about what constitutes "best practice" in managing the security risks associated with the precursor chemicals.

This is an important step in further reducing the threat of chemical terrorism. An informed and vigilant community and industry that understands the security risks associated with the use of chemicals for terrorist purposes can ensure appropriate measures are in place to prevent, detect, and deter their misuse.

Ryan Loughin is Director of Petrochemical & Energy Solutions for the Advanced Integration division of ADT- www.adtbusiness.com/petrochem. He provides security education to CFATS and MTSA-affected companies and is a member of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA), Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates (SOCMA), Energy Security Council (ESC) and American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). Loughin has also completed multiple levels of CVI Authorized User training (Chemical-Terrorism Vulnerability Information) which was authored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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