Assessment certificate categories

Last update 30 November 2016

This page details the assessment certificate categories (non self-assessment and self assessment), the intention of each, and their criteria (click on the links for more information about specific certificates).

Non self-assessment certificate categories

The major categories of certificate are non self-assessment.

Polymer of low concern (PLC) notifications

PLC notifications are for polymers that meet the PLC criteria:

Number-average molecular weight

Except for certain polyesters (see: last dot point below), a PLC must have a NAMW greater than 1000.

For polymers with NAMW between 1000 and 10,000, the allowable low MW species (below 1000 and 500) for these polymers is 25% and 10% respectively provided that the polymer has a limited content of reactive functional groups.

For polymers with NAMW greater than 10,000, the allowable low MW (below 1000 and 500) for these polymers remains at 5% and 2% respectively. There is no restriction on the number of reactive functional groups in the polymer.

Low-charge density

A polymer has a low-charge density if it is not a cationic polymer or is not reasonably anticipated to become a cationic polymer in a natural aquatic environment (4 < pH < 9). Certain solid materials and polymers with a low content of cationic groups are allowable as PLCs.

Hazard classification

A PLC must not be classified as a hazardous chemical.


A polymer is stable under the conditions in which it is used if it does not readily break down by hydrolysis, thermal degradation, photodegradation, depolymerisation or any other means.

Chemical composition

A PLC must contain as an integral part of its composition at least two atomic elements—carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, silicon and sulfur. There are restrictions on the content of other elements.

Water-absorbing polymers

A water-absorbing polymer with NAMW 10,000 and greater cannot be a PLC.


A polyester with a NAMW less than 1000, manufactured solely from one or more allowable reactants, may be a PLC provided that the polymer meets the other criteria.

LTD notifications

LTDs are for chemicals fitting one of these categories:

  • small-volume chemicals, biopolymers, and low MW synthetic polymers (NAMW <1000 Da)—that is, chemicals to be imported or manufactured at a rate of up to 1 tonne/12-month period
  • site-limited chemicals, biopolymers, and low MW synthetic polymers (NAMW <1000 Da)—that is, chemicals restricted to their manufacturing site and manufactured at a rate of not more than 10 tonnes/12-month period
  • synthetic polymers with NAMW >1000 Da that do not meet the PLC criteria.

STD notifications

STDs are for chemicals, biopolymers and low MW synthetic polymers (NAMW<1000 Da) imported or manufactured at greater than 1 tonne/year that do not fulfill the requirements of any other category.

Extension of a current assessment certificate

Extension of a current assessment certificate may cover other companies intending to import or manufacture a notified chemical, where the holder of the original certificate agrees and as long as certain criteria are met.

Self-assessment certificate categories

Self-assessment certificate categories allow industry to self-assess low regulatory concern chemicals against specified criteria and provide an assessment report which is screened and amended by NICNAS in consultation with the notifier if necessary before publication.

The assessment time frame is shorter than for non self-assessment categories (28 days as opposed to 90 days) and the fees you pay are lower.

Self-assessment certificates cannot be extended.

Self-assessment applications can be made for these categories of chemicals:

Polymer of low concern (PLC)

PLC notifications are for polymers meeting the PLC criteria (Polymers of low concern)

Non-hazardous chemicals or polymers

The onus is on you to demonstrate the non-hazardous nature of the chemical or polymer. You must gather data to demonstrate the non-hazardous nature, as outlined under the Act (see Legislation and regulations).

Note: Some chemicals are not eligible for self-assessment. These are:

  1. persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals and polymers.
  2. nanomaterials (see Guidance and requirements for notification of new chemicals that are industrial nanomaterials).


To ensure the robustness and integrity of the self-assessment process, you—as holder of a self-assessed assessment certificate—may be subject to NICNAS audits, since you are responsible for the content of the self-assessment report.

Under the Act, you must keep records to support statements made in, or in connection with, the certificate application, for five years from the date the certificate is issued. You must also submit a report to the NICNAS Director at the end of each registration year, stating:

  • name of the chemical or polymer for which the certificate is issued
  • volume of the chemical or polymer introduced during the year
  • any adverse effect of the chemical or polymer on occupational health and safety, public health or the environment of which you became aware during the year.

Reduced fee options

Modular notification categories

NICNAS has a number of modular notification categories with reduced fees, where a previous (or concurrent) assessment can be utilised in the NICNAS assessment. These are available for some non self-assessed Standard, Limited and Polymer of low concern applications.

Modular notification categories

Use of overseas assessments

NICNAS can consider, and use in its assessment report, an overseas health and environment hazard assessment, from one of these specified countries, for a new chemical.

Use of overseas assessments in the notification of New Chemicals

Secondary notifications

You must notify us when you become aware of a significant change in circumstances relating to an assessed new or existing chemical.

You are responsible for informing NICNAS of any significant changes from those outlined in the original assessment report of the chemical. You must do so within 28 days of becoming aware of such a change.

Read more about Secondary notifications