New chemicals reported 2017-2018

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

Table 1. Exemption categories
Exemption descriptionCriteria 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 chemicals provided during 2017-18 has been collated and the following is a detailed summary of this information.

Number of chemicals introduced

A total of 10521 new chemicals were reported during 2017-18 as being introduced under the exemption provisions during the previous registration year. This includes 2621 chemicals reported as being introduced at up to 10 kg for which no chemical name or other details were provided. The distribution of all reported chemicals among the five exemption categories is shown in Figure 1.

Fully reported exempt chemicals by category 2017-18

Use of chemicals introduced

Cosmetic chemicals represent 79% of all chemicals reported under the exemption provisions with 14.8% of these cosmetic chemicals being introduced under the ≤1% non-hazardous cosmetic exemption category.

Of the chemicals for which full details were reported (identity and use category), Education, Research & Development, Printing, Surface Coatings & Domestic/Cleaning represent the most common non-cosmetic chemical use categories. These use categories account for 72% of all chemicals reported for non-cosmetic uses. The distribution of chemicals introduced under the non-cosmetic exemption provisions across various use categories is illustrated in Figure 2.

Industry distribution of non-cosmetic exempt chemicals 2017-18

Quantities introduced

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

Table 2. Distribution of fully reported chemicals by quantity
Quantity descriptionNumber of chemicals
Up to 10 kg7027
>10-100 kg830
>100 kg (Transshipment or up to 1% Cosmetic)16
>100 kg27

89% of all reported chemicals were introduced at quantities of 10 kg or less. 27 chemicals (0.3%) were reported as exceeding the 100 kg threshold in either the ≤100 kg cosmetic or non-cosmetic exemption category. Instances of non-compliance associated with these chemicals have been managed as self-reported non-compliance.

Chemicals not previously reported

12.04% of reported chemicals were reported for the first time in 2017-18 based on chemicals for which a CAS number was provided.

Reporting organisations

A total of 239 organisations provided information on exempt category chemicals. A summary of the number of chemicals reported by these organisations is provided in Table 3.

Table 3. Number of chemicals reported per organisation
Number of chemicals introduced under exemptions1 - 1011 - 2021 - 5051 - 100> 100
Number of organisations 12933412016

54% of reporting organisations reported ten or less chemicals being introduced under the exemption provisions. 7% of reporting organisations reported greater than 100 chemicals.

Common chemicals

During the annual reporting year 1089 chemicals were reported by multiple introducers. A summary of the number of common chemicals introduced is provided in Table 4.

Table 4. Number of common chemicals introduced by multiple organisations
Number of organisationsNumber of common chemicals introduced

Last update 4 September 2018