Chemical Gazette - Exemption Category Report June 2020

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 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.

Polymer of Low Concern

  • Chemical introduced must be a polymer of low concern
  • Introducer must ensure that the chemical meets the PLC requirements

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 2019-20 has been collated and the following is a detailed summary of this information.

Number of chemicals introduced


A total of 15,379 new chemicals were reported during 2019-20 as being introduced under the exemption provisions during the previous registration year. This includes 5,054 chemicals reported as being introduced at up to 10 kg for which no chemical name or other details were provided. The distribution of fully reported chemicals among the six exemption categories is shown in Figure 1.

Use of chemicals introduced

Figure 1. Fully reported exempt chemical by category

Cosmetic chemicals represent 84% of all chemicals reported under the exemption provisions with 90% of these cosmetic chemicals being introduced under the <100kg cosmetic exemption category.

Of the chemicals for which full details were reported (identity and use category), Education, Research & Development, Printing, and Surface Coatings represent the most common non-cosmetic chemical use categories. These use categories account for 43% 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.

Figure 2. Industry distribution of non-cosmetic exempt chemicals

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.

Quantity description

Number of chemicals

Up to 10 kg


>10-100 kg


>100 kg (Transshipment or up to1% Cosmetic)


>100kg Polymer of Low Concern


>100 kg



Eighty-nine percent of all reported chemicals were introduced at quantities of 10 kg or less. 28 chemicals 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


Nine percent of reported chemicals were reported for the first time in 2019-20 based on chemicals for which a CAS number was provided.


Reporting organisations

A total of 279 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 exemptions

1 - 10

11 - 20



> 100

Number of organisations






Fifty-four percent of reporting organisations reported ten or fewer chemicals being introduced under the exemption provisions. Ten percent of reporting organisations reported greater than 100 chemicals.

AICIS Business Services from 1 July 2020

NICNAS  (National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme) officially retires on 30 June 2020 and will be succeeded by the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) on 1 July 2020.

On 1 July, NICNAS Business Services will be replaced by AICIS Business Services with a new web address —

AICIS Business Services portal will include many new features and applications to help businesses to complete their transactions online, including:

  • Submitting a pre-introduction report

  • Applying for an assessment certificate

  • Applying for protection of your confidential business information or flagging information as confidential

There are other types of applications that require you to download PDF forms, but you’ll submit these online – no more emailing, posting or faxing required.

Your NICNAS account will automatically transfer to AICIS Business Services

You can use the same login details that you’ve been using for NICNAS Business Services. To access AICIS Business Services from 1 July, use the web address above or click on the ‘Login’ button on our brand new AICIS website, which also launches on 1 July.

New Changes to the Industrial Chemicals Categorisation Guidelines

Some changes to the Guidelines you need to know about before 1 July.

The Categorisation Guidelines set out technical details and requirements to support introducers to categorise introductions of industrial chemicals. The Executive Director of AICIS issues the Categorisation Guidelines.

These Guidelines will be formally issued by the Executive Director on the AICIS website on 1 July 2020.

It was earlier, in last December informed by Executive Director, about the key changes made to the Categorisation Guidelines following extensive stakeholder consultation. The Categorisation Guidelines with these changes are available on this site.

Changes to the Categorisation Guidelines

the following minor/editorial changes:

  • corrected some typographical errors
  • reordered some of the text
  • made the information requirements clearer for:
    • UV filters
    • chemicals with an end use in tattoo inks
    • highly branched organic chemicals
    • chemicals with an end use as a biocidal active

Other changes

Persistent and bioaccumulative hazard characteristic – waiver for high molecular weight polymers

The waiver for the persistent and bioaccumulative hazard characteristic for high molecular weight polymers (in part 6.28.2) consistent with the waiver for the persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic hazard characteristic. This waiver applies to high molecular weight polymers with:

  • < 25% low molecular weight oligomeric species <1,000g/mol AND
  • <10% low molecular weight oligomeric species <500g/mol

Options for in silico information

Changes for the Derek Nexus in silico model so that it can now be used for more human health hazard characteristics (see Part 8.2).

NOEC (no observed effect concentration)

Removed mention of NOEC from places that talk about acute aquatic toxicity, as NOEC is only relevant for chronic aquatic toxicity.

The Categorisation Guidelines with these changes will be available from 1 July on our new website.

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