Getting started

Four schemes make up the Australian Government's regulatory framework for chemicals. Each scheme focuses on a particular area of use. We regulate importers and manufacturers of industrial chemicals.

New to NICNAS?

Are you importing or manufacturing an industrial chemical or chemical product into Australia? This includes ingredients in cosmetics and ingredients in products for domestic use.

The basics and your frequently asked topics

Do I need to register with NICNAS?

This questionnaire will help you understand your obligations and determine if you need to register your business with us. Most importers and/or manufacturers of industrial chemical products must register their business with us regardless of the quantity of chemicals they import or make.

This also applies to importers of:

  • bulk chemicals
  • packaged cosmetics
  • consumer, industrial and commercial products

This does not apply to businesses that only import or manufacture articles.

Remember that you register your business with us, NOT chemicals or products.

Go to our Register your business section

Find a chemical on the Inventory

All importers and/or manufacturers of industrial chemicals must check their chemicals against the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (the Inventory).  For best results, search using a CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) number.

If the chemical is on the Inventory, you can import and/or manufacture it without telling us, as long as you meet any conditions of use or secondary notification requirements. If your intended use falls outside conditions of use, you need to notify us.

Learn more about conditions of use

Read the definition of secondary notification

Follow these steps for using and understanding the Inventory

Importing or manufacturing chemicals that aren't on the Inventory

First check if you meet our criteria under one of the exemption categories. If you aren't eligible for an exemption, you must apply to us for a permit or assessment certificate.

Go to our Notify your chemical section

Cosmetic or a therapeutic good?

Most ingredients in cosmetic products are regulated as industrial chemicals, including ingredients commonly referred to as 'organic' or 'natural ingredients'. Use our questionnaire:

Is my product a cosmetic?

Go to our Cosmetics and Soaps section to learn more about

  • cosmetics
  • therapeutic goods
  • naturally occurring chemicals
  • soap and soap making
  • sunscreens
  • labelling cosmetic ingredients

We do not prohibit or ban the use of chemicals in cosmetics but we do play a role in restricting their use.

Read more about prohibited or restricted chemicals

Check any extra requirements for your product

There may be extra manufacturing requirements around your product or ingredients in your product, including:

Who does what?

We are not responsible for the following uses of chemicals. Click or tap on the heading to see the scheme you need to contact for these uses.

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Pesticides, agricultural products, veterinary medicine, food for animals, pool sanitisers

Chemicals used solely for the following purposes are not regulated by NICNAS.

These chemicals are regulated by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

  • Agriculture, including household gardening products
  • Pesticides, including household products such as:
    • personal insect repellents
    • insect sprays
    • weed killers
  • Pool sanitising chemicals such as:
    • Chlorine
    • Bromine
    • Algaecides
  • Veterinary medicine, pet food and livestock feed
Medicines, medical devices, sterilants, disinfectants, primary sunscreens

Chemicals used for the following purposes are not regulated by NICNAS.

They are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

  • Medical devices (including sterilants and disinfectants) & in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs)
  • Medicines (includes prescription, over-the-counter and complementary/alternative medicines)
  • Biologicals
  • Primary sunscreen products
  • Sterilants and disinfectants.
Food for humans

Chemicals used for the following purposes are not regulated by NICNAS.

They are regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

  • Food for humans
  • Food additives

Last update 10 January 2020