by Lily Hou, PhD, CHMM
To reduce the regulatory burden on introducers of industrial chemicals, Australia announced a reform to the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) in May 2015. After four years of development, a new Australian industrial chemicals law, the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019, was released recently with an implementation date of July 1, 2020. This law establishes a new regulatory scheme, the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS), to replace NICNAS for the importation and manufacture of industrial chemicals in Australia.
The New Act
Under the new act, introducers will be responsible for categorizing the new chemical into one of the three categories–exempted chemicals, reported chemicals, or assessed chemicals–based on exposure and hazard information.
- Exempted chemicals have very low risk and will not require pre-introduction notifications. Introducers might be required to submit a post-introduction declaration.
- Reported chemicals have low risks and will require a pre-introduction report, as well as an annual compliance declaration.
- Assessed chemicals are medium to high risk chemicals. A pre-introduction assessment will be undertaken by AICIS.
Permits for introduction of a new industrial chemical will no longer be available under the new scheme, and conditions of use can be imposed on a certificate. The Industrial Chemicals (General) Rules 2018 (General Rules) and Guidelines are currently being developed to provide details on chemical categorization, reporting and record keeping requirements, CBI notifications, etc.
While the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019 won’t be effective until July 1, 2020, the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act was amended in March 2019 to introduce the following early regulatory changes that are in effect now:
- No annual reporting requirements for permit holders and self-assessed assessment certificate holders
- The timeframes for Approved Foreign Scheme assessments are reduced from 90 days to 60 days
- Polymers of low concerns (PLCs) are exempt from notification
- New PLC criteria
- For the definition of a new synthetic polymer, “at least 2%” is amended to “greater than 2%”
- Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and labels are not required for exempt cosmetics
Recommended Action Items
- Evaluate how the early regulatory changes may affect your company for introducing industrial chemicals into Australia
- Stay informed of the development of general rules on guidelines supplementing the new Act
Industrial Chemicals Act 2019. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019A00012
Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Amendment Act 2019. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019A00014
New Industrial Chemicals Act 2019