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Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS)

The Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS) is the legal device that distinguishes new from existing chemicals.

AICS is a listing of all industrial chemicals in use in Australia between 1 January 1977 and 28 February 1990. In addition, it includes new assessed chemicals and corrections as required, as well as chemicals that were regulated by other Australian regulators and have since become industrial chemicals.

The AICS is maintained under the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) and contains around 40,000 chemicals. The AICS is a list of chemical identity data; it does not contain information on toxicity, use, manufacturers or importers. It consists of the non-confidential (public) section and the confidential section.

Any chemical not included in AICS is regarded as a new industrial chemical unless it is outside the scope of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 or is otherwise exempt from notification. New industrial chemicals must be notified and assessed before being manufactured in, or imported into, Australia.

Chemicals on the AICS can be imported or manufactured in Australia without first being notified to NICNAS as new chemicals, regardless of whether they have been assessed or not yet assessed by NICNAS.

Chemicals assessed by NICNAS are identified in the AICS online by a flag "Assessed by NICNAS". For chemicals where the assessed flag is "yes", there may be secondary notification requirements, as well as conditions of use. Please contact the AICS Manager on 02 8577 8830 or email aics.officer@nicnas.gov.au.

Adding chemicals to the AICS 

All certificate-assessed chemicals are included on AICS five years after the certificate date unless the notifier exercises the option for immediate listing. At the end of five years the notifier, which is the holder of the certificate, is given the opportunity to request that the chemical be listed on the confidential section.

Confidential listing on the AICS

In order to list a chemical in the confidential section of the AICS, an application to the Director of NICNAS, on the approved form is required.

If the application is approved, the chemical is listed for five years. At the end of five years, the company can apply to re-list the chemical for another five years by making an application on the approved form.

Guidelines for "Establishing a Case for Confidential Listing of Chemicals on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances" have been developed to assist with these applications. These guidelines can be downloaded here.

Non-confidential listing on the AICS

Chemicals for which no confidential applications are received or where the Director does not agree to confidential listing, are listed on the non-confidential AICS, and their listing is gazetted in the Chemical Gazette.

Searching the AICS

The non-confidential AICS may be consulted here.

Guidance in searching the AICS may be found in the NICNAS Handbook. A 'free' confidential search request is available for searching the confidential AICS. Requests to search the AICS may be submitted via the forms listed here

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