What we do

NICNAS helps protect the Australian people and the environment by assessing the risks of industrial chemicals and providing information to promote their safe use.

Our focus is the industrial use of chemicals. This covers a broad range of chemicals used in inks, plastics, adhesives, paints, glues, solvents, cosmetics, soaps and many other products.

On this page:

Our laws

A statutory scheme administered by the Australian Government's Department of Health, NICNAS is responsible for the following laws.

Type of authorityName

Acts

Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989
Industrial Chemicals (Registration Charge—General) Act 1997
Industrial  Chemicals (Registration Charge—Customs) Act 1997
Industrial Chemicals (Registration Charge—Excise) Act 1997

Regulations

Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Regulations 1990

Our responsibilities

These laws empower NICNAS to:

  • provide a national system to assess new industrial chemicals for health and environmental risk
  • maintain the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS)
  • manage the Register of Industrial Chemical Introducers
  • compel commercial importers and/or manufacturers to notify industrial chemicals that are new to Australia
  • provide information and make recommendations about chemicals to other government agencies responsible for the regulation of industrial chemicals,
  • collect statistics on the use of industrial chemicals in Australia
  • ensure Australia meets its obligations under international agreements about chemicals.

What we don't do

In Australia the introduction of chemicals—whether by importation and/or manufacture—is regulated at a national level.

Four schemes make up the Australian Government's regulatory framework for chemicals at the national level, with each scheme focussing on particular areas of use. NICNAS is part of this framework and is responsible for industrial chemicals.

NICNAS is 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.

Please note, if a chemical has multiple uses the requirements of each applicable scheme must be followed.

Go to our other agencies contact list

  • 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 additivies

Our role in chemical regulation

NICNAS does not regulate the use or disposal of chemicals.

NICNAS promotes the safe use of industrial chemicals by providing information and recommendations to other regulators. We work closely with a range of regulatory partners at all levels of government.

Please contact these other agencies or organisations who can expertly answer your questions about these topics.

Area/topic

More information

Asbestos

Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Chemicals of a security concern

Attorney General's Department

Australian National Security

Chemicals used in foodFood Standards Australia and New Zealand
Chemicals used in medicine, therapeutic goods or classified as poisonsTherapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
Chemicals used in animals and agricultureAustralian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)

Defence

Department of Defence

Emergency response to accidents involving toxic substancesTriple Zero

Environment

Department of the Environment and Energy

Fair trading and consumer protection

Labelling and safety concerns about chemicals used in consumer products

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

ACCC's mandatory standard for cosmetic ingredient labelling

Hazardous waste and managing chemicals in the environmentDepartment of the Environment and Engery
Importing goods for personal useDepartment of Home Affairs

Imports–prohibited and restricted

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Precursor chemicals–illicit drugs

Attorney General's Department

Poisons

The Therapeutic Goods Administration's Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons

Transporting dangerous goods (explosives, flammable liquids, gases, corrosives and chemically reactive or highly toxic substances)

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

National Transport Commission

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (ASMA)

Standards Australia Code for Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or Rail (ADG Code)

Workplace safety

Safe Work Australia's Hazardous Substances Information System

National Code of Practice for the Storage and Handling of Workplace Dangerous Goods

National Code of Practice for the Labeling of Workplace Substances

Last update 8 October 2018