AICS Searching for Beginners
Names of chemicals on product labels or product data sheets will often not be listed on the AICS because they are common names not correct chemical names. However, the AICS lists common names in the Associated names field and these can be searched.
Products such as paints, cosmetics, adhesives and lubricants are mixtures of chemicals. To import a product into Australia you need to find out the names of all the chemicals in that product and find out if they are listed on the AICS. Then you need to find out if the chemicals are named correctly because the AICS mostly lists chemicals by their correct chemical names.
A label for wine may state: Contains 13% alcohol.
If you perform an AICS search under “Chemical name equals alcohol” the following listing comes up:
In this case we were lucky that Alcohol is anassociated name. The correct chemical name is Ethanol and this is not listed on wine labels. Notice also that Ethanol has a CAS No of 64-17-5 which is another way of finding a chemical on the AICS. This is also not normally listed on wine labels.
Now let’s have a look at a common cosmetic, a moisturiser. Many common components of this moisturiser are listed on the AICS as associated names.
However, one of the components, sucrose cocoate, is not listed on the AICS as an associated name. But when we go to the European Commission’s CosIng database of cosmetic ingredients at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/cosmetics/cosing/index.cfm we find the following listing:
INCI Name SUCROSE COCOATE
CAS # 91031-88-8
Chemical/IUPAC Name Fatty acids, coco, esters with sucrose
From this we can see that SUCROSE COCOATE is an INCI name which refers to an international naming system for use on labels of cosmetic products developed by the European Cosmetic Industry.
Now if we look up the AICS with the CAS No 91031-88-8 we get:
Therefore, this cosmetic ingredient is listed on the AICS and can be imported to Australia as a component of cosmetic products.
Now, try this method with dimethonicol, a component of the same moisturiser which is listed on the CosIng database but is not listed on the AICS as an associated name.
A more difficult chemical in this same moisturiser is named:
D & C red #33 which is not found on CosIng or the AICS under this name.
However, putting this name into a web browser we find that it is listed on a number of sites including the US Department of Health and Human Services Household Products Database with the CAS No. 3567-66-6. Looking this up on the AICS yields:
We can see that the problem was that we should have looked up “red” and “33” in separate name fields. From this we can see that looking up common names on a web browser can be a very useful tool.
 The CAS Number is a unique number assigned to a substance when it is entered into the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry database.
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