What Is A "New" Industrial Chemical?

The following are considered “new” industrial chemicals

  • Chemicals not listed on AICS

  • Chemicals listed on AICS but that are subject to a condition of use

  • Any new synthetic polymer, defined as: a synthetic polymer that includes a combination of monomers and other reactive components, each representing at least 2% by weight, being a combination not listed in AICS, or a synthetic polymer of whose weight at least 2% is attributable to monomer or other reactive component that is not listed in AICS as a component of a synthetic polymer.

NICNAS maintains the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances (AICS), a list of around 40,000 chemicals in use in Australia.


A "new" industrial chemical is one that is not listed on AICS. Some chemicals listed on AICS may be subject to conditions of use under section 13 of the Act. These chemicals are also defined as new industrial chemicals if their use is for other than that stated on AICS. The annotation of existing chemicals on AICS is ongoing.


First find out from the AICS if the chemical is a new industrial chemical by searching AICS (non-confidential list only).


Some chemicals that have been assessed by NICNAS may be in the confidential section of AICS. An application for confidential listing can be submitted five years after the certificate for the assessed chemical is issued, and decisions regarding confidential listing, taking into consideration the commercial interest and public health impact of confidential listing into consideration.


NICNAS can search the confidential sections of AICS for notifier(s) but they must have a bonafide intent to introduce the chemical. Please refer to appropriate forms.

Not "New"

The following are not considered to be “new” industrial chemicals and thus do not require notification (see Appendix 2 of the NICNAS Handbook for Notifiers for definitions of technical terms)

    • Reaction intermediates, due to their transient existence and confinement to their chemical reaction systems (see Appendix 2 – Definitions);

    • Incidentally-produced chemicals, produced as an impurity or by-product from a chemical reaction (see Appendix 2 – Definitions). Incidentally-produced chemicals must have no commercial value. Information on these chemicals would be required if the parent chemical was subject to notification;
    • Naturally-occurring chemicals (which are regarded as being on AICS).
    • Polymers are a special case. Examples of polymers that do not fulfil the criteria for a new synthetic polymer, and are not considered to be “new” include:
      • An existing synthetic polymer where only a change in monomer ratios has occurred, for example, if the ethylene-vinyl acetate ratio in an ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer has changed from 70-30% to 40-60%, and
      • An existing synthetic polymer containing one or more new monomer(s) or reactant(s), each at less than 2% by weight.

    What to do now?

    If the chemical is on AICS, then it is classed as an existing chemical. Please refer to the Existing Chemicals section of the website.

    If the chemical is not on AICS, or has a use that is other than that listed on AICS, and fits the definition of a new industrial chemical, a notification may need to be submitted. If the substance is classed as a new industrial chemical, then proceed to the next section:


    Introducers of new chemicals must complete NICNAS registration.

    More Information