Priority Existing Chemical assessments

A priority existing chemical (PEC) is an industrial chemical that has been identified as requiring an assessment because there are reasonable grounds for believing that manufacturing, handling, storing, using or disposing of the chemical could be a risk to health and/or the environment.

Following a chemical assessment by NICNAS, there could be changes in circumstances that would later require particular aspects of a chemical to be re-assessed. This process is called secondary notification and assessment.

Read more about priority existing chemicals

Most PEC assessments are accompanied by an easy-to-understand fact sheet which summarises key recommendations for a non-scientific audience.


Draft PEC assessment on Decabromodiphenyl Ether (decaBDE)

The focus of our draft report is on our assessment of risks to:

  • workers handling decaBDE or its products
  • the general public coming in contact directly or indirectly with articles containing decaBDE and
  • to the environment.

Download Draft PEC report for Decabromodiphenyl Ether (decaBDE) [Word 20.MB]
Publish date: 1 March 2019

Consultation on this report closes on 1 April 2019. See further information about this consultation in our March Chemical Gazette.


List of PECS

The assessments are in alphabetical order by chemical or trade name. Click on a letter in the list or use the page links. A name that begins with a number can be found in 1,2,3...

Chemical/trade name: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1,2,3...

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Click on the chemical/trade name to download the scientific assessment.


Benzene - PEC21 [WORD 760 KB]

CAS number(s): 71-43-2

Published 1 September 2001

Benzene was declared a priority existing chemical for full assessment on 7 April 1998 (PEC/21) in response to occupational and public health concerns. Benzene occurs naturally in fossil fuels and is produced incidentally in the course of natural processes and human activities that involve the combustion of organic matter such as wood, coal and petroleum products. The main industrial use of benzene is as a starting material for the synthesis of other chemicals

For a summary of the assessment read the Benzene fact sheet.


Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) - PEC40 [WORD 329 KB]

CAS number(s): 85-68-7

Published 1 July 2015

The chemical 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, butyl phenylmethyl ester, also known as butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), was declared a priority existing chemical for full assessment on 7 March 2006 (PEC/40). The declaration was based on the ubiquitous use of phthalates as solvents and plasticisers in industrial and consumer products. The assessment was restricted to public health risk from use in cosmetics, children's toys and childcare articles.

For a summary of the assessment read the BBP fact sheet.

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Last update 19 March 2019