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


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


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

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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

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.


More information


Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency

Australian Border Force

Chemicals of a security concern

Australian National Security

Chemicals used in food Food Standards Australia and New Zealand
Chemicals used in medicine, therapeutic goods or classified as poisons Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
Chemicals used in animals and agriculture Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)


Department of Defence

Emergency response to accidents involving toxic substances Triple Zero


Department of the Agriculture, Water and the Environment

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 environment Department of the Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Importing goods for personal use Australian Border Force – Importing by post or mail

Imports–prohibited and restricted

Australian Border Force

Precursor chemicals–illicit drugs

Australian Border Force


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 (NTC)

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

NTC Australian Dangerous Goods Code

Workplace safety

Safe Work Australia's Hazardous Chemical Information System

Model Code of Practice for managing the Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace

Last update 5 February 2020