by Lily Hou, PhD, CHMM
In March 2020, Australia’s National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) published a list of chemicals with high hazards to human health and the environment for categorisation purposes under the Industrial Chemical Act, which will become effective on July 1, 2020.
The new Industrial Chemical Act requires introducers of industrial chemicals to categorise their introduction into one of the five main categories: listed, exempted, reported, assessed, and commercial evaluation. For a chemical not listed on the Australia Inventory, unless you introduce it for commercial testing in Australia, most likely you will need to determine its risk level for the categorisation.
While chemicals with very low to low risk to human health and the environment may be categorised as exempted or reported without assessment requirements, introducers of medium to high risk chemicals must apply to have the chemical assessed prior to the introduction.
To provide introducers, a tool for checking whether their chemicals are highly hazardous, NICNAS published the consolidated list of chemicals with high hazards that are based on one or more of the following national or international information sources:
- Safe Work Australia’s Hazardous Chemical Information System (HCIS)
- European Chemicals agency (ECHA) Harmonised Classification and Labelling of Hazardous Substances (Annex VI to the CLP Regulation)
- European Union Substances of Very High Concern (EU SVHC)
- United States National Toxicology Program (US NTP) Report on Carcinogens
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs
- European Commission Endocrine Disruptors Strategy
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) scientific knowledge on endocrine disrupting chemicals
- Government of Canada Toxic Substances List (Schedule 1)
- Chemical Substances Control Law of Japan (CSCL) Class I and II Specified Chemical Substances
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) REACH Annex XIV Authorisation
The list contains about 4500 chemicals with their Australia inventory status, as well as the hazard classification data from the trusted sources. The following decision tree explains what happens generally if your chemical is (not) on this List:
For more information on how to categorise your chemical introduction, please refer to the AICIS Guide to categorising your chemical importation or manufacture on the NICNAS website.
Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS): https://www.nicnas.gov.au/New-scheme-1-July-2020
Australian Industrial Chemicals Act, AICIS, Australia chemical categorisation
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