An industrial chemical that is not on the Inventory is a new chemical unless it is exempt from notification. New industrial chemicals must be notified and assessed before being manufactured or imported into Australia.
Hints for using the Inventory
Type in a chemical name or CAS number in the search bar above to search the public Inventory.
Chemicals on the Inventory are listed by their CAS Registered number and CAS name.
The Inventory does not list by:
- Trade name
- IUPAC nomenclature
- Cosmetic ingredient names
1. Search the Inventory
Search by a chemical's CAS number
It is best to search the Inventory using a unique CAS number. The reason for this is a chemical may be known by many different names but it only has 1 unique CAS number.
You must use the correct CAS format with hyphens and discard any zero (0) that might be at the start of the first block. For example, if searching for formaldehyde:
Correct search: 50-00-0
Incorrect search: 050-00-0
Where to find a CAS number
- Request a CAS RN search from the Chemical Abstracts Service (fee applies) - you will need to provide them with information such as a reliable chemical structure, a name (sometimes a trade name can be used). CAS also has a free search database for about 7,900 commonly used chemicals.
- Internet search - sometimes an internet search will provide you with a CAS number.
- Material Safety Data Sheets (M)SDS often have a CAS number listed. You will need to contact the manufacturer or supplier.
- Search online catalogues of chemical suppliers.
CAS preferred chemical name
If you do not have the CAS number your next best option is to search using the CAS name for the chemical.
Some common names for chemicals are on the Inventory but are restricted to the most commonly used chemicals. If you only have the common name of the chemical, your results will most likely be a very broad list of candidate chemicals.
You can search by molecular formula e.g. C12H12N2O3, but you may get a very large number of results.
Once you have the details you need, search for the chemical by entering it's details in the search bar. As explained above, its best to be as specific as possible in your search to get the most meaningful results.
Search query options
Our search engine, Funnelback, recognises certain search query operators such as "quotes" for exact terms or minus (-) to exclude a phrase from the search.
2. Search results
If the chemical is found the search results are set up to give you a link to its Inventory listing first and then any related assessment reports and key information. There is a refine search area that allows you to narrow down information you are seeking about a chemical (for example if you find its Inventory listing but wish to find out more about related assessment reports).
Chemical not found
If details have been correctly entered but you have no results on your search you will need to determine the following:
Is the substance a natural substance or an alloy or a hydrate?
Naturally-occurring chemicals (extracted from natural sources in such a way that their chemistry won't have changed during the extraction process) do not need to be listed on the Inventory, instead they are deemed to be on the Inventory and can be imported/manufactured without notification.
Mixtures, including alloys or hydrates, are not eligible for listing. They can be imported and/or manufactured without notification provided their component chemicals are on the Inventory.
Is the chemical on the confidential Inventory?
If there are no results in the public Inventory, you can apply to us to search the confidential Inventory. We will search the confidential Inventory if we are satisfied you are genuinely intending to manufacture and/or import a chemical.
Is the substance a new chemical?
Additional chemical information
NICNAS information and reports
You can explore our Chemical information section to read IMAP chemical assessments, new chemical assessments, priority existing chemical assessments, other assessments and chemical fact sheets.
International chemical databases
These international databases may provide useful chemical information.
- European Chemicals Agency (information about chemicals in Europe)
- United States Environment Protection Agency Aggregated Computational Toxicology Resource
ACToR (Aggregated Computational Toxicology resource) is EPA's online warehouse of all publicly available chemical toxicity data and can be used to find all publicly available data about potential chemical risks to human health and the environment.
- CosIng Database search page
This European Commission searchable database has information on cosmetic ingredients. It contains CAS RNs and International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) names and numbers.
- National Library of Medicine
This United States' site lists chemicals and available toxicity information. It is useful for listing chemicals that are not on major inventories.
- National Institute of Standards and Technology Chemistry (NIST) WebBook
This website of the U.S. Department of Commerce provides access to data compiled and distributed by NIST under the Standard Reference Data Program.
- Safe Work Australia has guidance on how to find safety data sheets (SDS)
Last update 13 May 2019