You may remember that a few months ago A Current Affair ran a feature on several burns incurred by individuals who had laser and light-based therapies.  The event created quite a stir both by consumers and the industry, and the issue of regulating the industry was once again raised.

As you may be aware there have been two extensive industry consultation rounds (each lasting three years) instigated by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), which unfortunately did not result in a regulatory outcome. 

While we have reached out once again to ARPANSA, having failed twice to achieve a regulation, they were reluctant to initiate another consultation process and have decided to direct us to Environmental Health also known as enHealth.

The Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth) is a leading authoritative organisation that covers an extensive and broad range of health regulatory considerations and is a standing committee of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

Under its Terms of Reference, enHealth is responsible for providing agreed environmental health policy advice, consultation with key stakeholders, and the development and coordination of research, information, and practical resources on environmental health matters at a national level. The development of national advice by enHealth is based on significant collaboration and consultation with federal and state and territory agencies, departments, and organisations that deal with environmental health matters.

The enHealth membership includes representatives from:

  • Commonwealth, state, and territory health departments
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • New Zealand Ministry of Health; and
  • Heads of Environment Protection Authority Australia and New Zealand (HEPA).

EnHealth achieves its objectives through regular engagement with other government departments and agencies. The committee also works with Australian local government associations, professional bodies, universities, and non-government organisations.  We have been advised that this would be the appropriate body to approach for regulatory consideration.

Early this month APAN was approached by the Federal Health Department in Canberra to engage with the government in a conference call to discuss the issue of IPL and Laser regulations.  The meeting is scheduled for the 28th May. There will be four government officials at this meeting, and we have also been informed that the TGA have now also been invited to be represented. APAN was given permission to invite one more party at this meeting and we nominated Dr Stephen Newbery, as we have had a close working relationship with him over the years.

Dr Newbery is the Principal Health Physicist at Department of Health, Tasmania. He is an experienced Health Physicist with a demonstrated history of working in Government administration initiatives. 

For this meeting, we are preparing a comprehensive submission that will present our case for regulation.  If you would like to help us, we are seeking to also submit a portfolio of photos of incidents of burns from IPL or Laser treatment, if you have such photos, we would greatly appreciate it if you could please forward them to us to include in our submission.  You can send them either by email at info@apanetwork.com or through a private message via our social media.

This is a great opportunity to revisit the need for regulation through another pathway.  We have never been in favour of over-regulating the industry. However, there is sufficient evidence that our industry is heavily exploited by unqualified individuals who are entering an industry they know nothing about and setting up businesses to provide risky services without appropriate education and training and slash and burning unassuming consumers. These individuals must be stopped, and we intend to pursue this matter until we achieve an appropriate outcome.