Chemical safety in Australia is regulated by a number of government agencies and regulations. Industrial chemicals fall under the management of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (ICNA Act). All chemicals that are not categorized based on specific uses (such as medicines, pesticides, food additives, etc.) are defined as industrial chemicals, including chemicals used in solvents, adhesives, plastics, paints, inks, fuels, and laboratory reagents, as well as in refrigeration, cosmetics and household cleaning. Under ICNA Act, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) was established in 1990 and administered by the Department of Health of Australian government. The goal of NICNAS is to protect Australian people and the environment by assessing the risks of industrial chemicals and providing information to promote their safe use.

The Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS) is a list of all industrial chemicals used in Australia between January 1st 1977 and February 28th 1990 and the chemicals assessed by NICNAS since 1990. AICS consists of public section and confidential section. The public section is open for anybody to search, while enterprises must submit a request to NICNAS to search the confidential section.

The chemicals listed in AICS are regarded as existing chemicals and can be imported or manufactured in Australia without notifying NICNAS, except chemicals that need Secondary Notification in the AICS search result or have Conditions of Use. The manufacturer and importer of these chemicals should contact NICNAS before business activities.

Industrial chemicals that are not listed in AICS are new chemicals. They must be notified to and assessed by NICNAS before being manufactured or imported into Australia except they are exempted from notification for research and teaching purposes and other cases. All chemicals that receive an assessment certificate are automatically added to the public section of AICS five years after the certificate date and become searchable online. To add chemicals into the confidential section of AICS, the certificate holder must submit an application, including a justification for requesting confidential listing.


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    GHS Requirements Become Mandatory in Australia

      January 12, 2017    Matt Lu

    The 3rd revision of Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) was first introduced in Australia on Jan 1st 2012 under the Work Health and Safety Law. However, the industry was given a 5 years’ grace period...
  •  2026

    Australia NICNAS Reform to Be Finalized by Early 2017

      November 30, 2016    Matt Lu

    The revision on Australia's National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) is close to completion and will be released in April 2017.
  •  2425

    Australia In Process of NICNAS Reform

      April 8, 2016    Matt Lu

    Australian Department of Health is in reforms to the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). The reforms aim to decrease the industry’s regulatory compliance burden by simplifying chemicals assessment.
  •  2297

    Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances has One Substance Removed

      September 24, 2015    Matt Lu

    According to the latest Chemical Gazette published by Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), one substance has already been removed from the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS).
  •  2531

    Australia NICNAS: Guidelines on Confidentiality in AICS

      January 8, 2015    Matt Lu

    On Jan 6th, 2015, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) issued the guidelines on the confidentiality of information in Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS)
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    Australia NICNAS: Two Substances Previously Listed in AICS Reclassified as New Substances

      December 3, 2014    Matt Lu

    Two substances have been removed from AICS by NICNAS. They are now regarded as new substances and need to be notified and assessed before being manufactured in or imported into Australia.