New chemicals reported 2015-2016

Section 21 of the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (the Act) allows for the introduction of new chemicals into Australia, provided that the chemicals meet the requirements stipulated in subsections 21(4) and 21(6) of the Act. New chemicals that satisfy the requirements of subsections 21(4) and 21(6) are exempt from the notification requirements of the legislation ('exempt chemicals'). A summary of the exemption categories and their criteria for use is provided in Table 1.

Table 1. Exemption categories

Exemption description

Criteria for use

≤100 kg Cosmetic exemption

  • Introduced quantity cannot exceed 100 kg in any 12 month period.
  • Introducer must be satisfied that the chemical poses no unreasonable risk to the public, workers exposed to the chemical, or the environment.

≤100 kg Non-Cosmetic exemption

  • Chemical cannot be for cosmetic use.
  • Introduced quantity cannot exceed 100 kg in any 12 month period.
  • Introducer must be satisfied that the chemical poses no unreasonable risk to the public, workers exposed to the chemical, or the environment.

1% Non-Hazardous cosmetic exemption

  • Chemical must be introduced in a finished cosmetic product at no greater than 1%.
  • Chemical must be a non-hazardous chemical as defined by the Act.

≤100 kg Research and development exemption

  • Introduced quantity cannot exceed 100 kg in any 12 month period.
  • Chemical must be introduced solely for the purpose of research, development, and analysis.

Transshipment exemption

  • Chemical must remain under the control of Customs at all times before leaving Australia.
  • Chemical must leave Australia within 30 days.

Industrial chemical introducers are required to report to NICNAS every year on any chemical introduced under these exemption provisions (section 21AA). Reported information on these exempt chemicals provided during 2015-16 has been collated and is summarised below.

Number of chemicals introduced

A total of 11688 new chemicals were reported during 2015-16 as being introduced under the exemption provisions during the previous registration year. This includes 2430 chemicals reported as being introduced at up to 10 kg, for which no chemical name or other details were provided. The distribution of all exempt chemicals reported in the five exemption categories is shown in Figure 1.

A chart of fully reported exempt chemicals by category for the 2015-16 reporting year.

Use of chemicals introduced

Cosmetic chemicals represent 76% of all chemicals reported under the exemption provisions, with over half of these cosmetic chemicals (56%) being introduced under the 1% non-hazardous cosmetic exemption category.

Of the exempt chemicals for which full details were reported (identity and use category), Education, Research & Development, Other, Surface Coatings, Photographic and the Printing Industry represent the most common non-cosmetic chemical use categories. These use categories account for 84% of all exempt chemicals reported for non-cosmetic uses. The distribution of exempt chemicals introduced under the non-cosmetic exemption provisions across various use categories is illustrated in Figure 2.

A chart illustrating the industry distribution of non-cosmetic exempt chemicals for the 2015-16 year.

Quantities introduced

To reduce the reporting burden on introducers, the exact quantity of an exempt chemical that is introduced in a given year is not required to be reported. Introducers are, however, required to report a quantity range for each exempt chemical (0-10 kg, >10-100 kg, >100 kg). The distribution of exempt chemicals across these quantity ranges, for which full details were reported, is provided in Table 2.

Table 2. Distribution of fully reported chemicals by quantity

Quantity Description

Number of Chemicals

Up to 10 kg

6639

>10-100 kg

2564

>100 kg (Transhipment or up to1% Cosmetic)

21

>100 kg

34

72% of all exempt chemicals reported to NICNAS were introduced at quantities of 10 kg or less. 34 chemicals (0.4%) were reported as exceeding the 100 kg threshold in either the 100 kg cosmetic, research and development or non-cosmetic exemption category. Instances of non-compliance associated with these chemicals have been managed as self-reported breaches of the legislation.

Chemicals not previously reported

Approximately 13% of exempted chemicals were reported for the first time in 2015-16, based on chemicals for which a Registry Number issued by the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS RN) was provided to uniquely identify the chemical.

Reporting organisations

A total of 208 organisations provided information on the introduction of exempt chemicals. A summary of the number of exempt chemicals reported by these organisations is provided in Table 3.

Table 3. Number of chemicals reported per introducer

Number of chemicals introduced under exemptions

1 - 10

11 - 20

21-50

51-100

> 100

Number of introducers

108

25

36

16

23

52% of reporting organisations reported ten or less chemicals being introduced under the exemption provisions. 11% of reporting organisations reported introducing greater than 100 exempt chemicals.

Exempt chemicals reported by multiple introducers

During the annual reporting year, 1265 chemicals were reported by more than one introducer.

Number of introducers of the same exempt chemical

2 – 5

6 – 10

11 – 15

16-21

Number of chemicals reported by multiple introducers

1093

141

20

8

1 exempted chemical was reported by 38 different introducers, and another by 34 introducers.

Last update 16 August 2018