How do you decide if you should register with NICNAS?

To help you make this decision, please follow the decision tree below.


'Chemicals' is a very broad term: it includes lipsticks, shampoos, cosmetics (even ones containing naturally-occurring ingredients), inks in pens/biros, solvents, adhesives, plastics, paints and toner/inks in printer cartridges. However, it does not include articles (such as plastic chairs, glow sticks, paper, etc.) and radioactive materials. The chemical can be an element, compound or ingredient in a mixture.


Examples of commercial purpose include on selling or use in your business. Non-commercial purpose includes personal use, teaching purposes, non-profit research and charity.


Your registration is based on whether you introduce industrial chemicals. The definition of an industrial chemical is associated with the end use of the chemical.


Examples to give you an idea on how an industrial chemical is defined by its end use:

  1. Glue for wood binding. This is considered to be an industrial chemical;

  2. Chemical for the purposes of pest control. This would be a pesticide and thus not considered an industrial chemical;

  3. Chemical to be used both as a solvent in paint and as a pool chemical used to kill algae. The proportion imported for use in paint would be considered an industrial chemical, and thus requires the registration of your business. It also must be noted that all cosmetics are industrial chemicals, except if they are used for medical-related purposes (such as anti-dandruff shampoos) and are registered with the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA). Therefore, if you only import/manufacture chemicals that are solely for use as a pesticide, veterinary chemical, medicine, food/food additive, then they are not industrial chemicals, and hence registration of your business is not required.


Naturally-occurring' chemicals and biological materials (e.g. blood), while industrial chemicals are exempt from NICNAS Registration requirements.

A 'naturally-occurring' chemical is very narrowly defined under the Act. Many substances do come from natural origins, but this does not mean they meet the definition of 'naturally-occurring'.


What has to be considered is the process involved in deriving or extracting these substances. Under the Act, only mechanical processes (e.g. dissolution in water, cold-pressing, etc.) are allowed if substances are to retain their 'naturally-occurring' status. If a chemical process (e.g. fractional precipitation) was used, then the substance derived would no longer qualify as 'naturally-occurring'.


Examples of biological material would include blood, human or animal tissue, etc.For more information on which chemicals are within the scope of NICNAS registration refer to the Fact Sheet on Relevant Industrial Chemicals (PDF 146Kb)


Now that you have determined that you need to register your business with NICNAS, the next step is to decide which tier you should register under. You must then complete the form NR-1A or NR-1B if you are exempt) and return it to NICNAS. Registration Costs There are three levels of registration. Your registration level, and hence registration cost, is based on the total value of industrial chemicals imported and/or manufactured each year.


Please see the Fees and Charges page of this website.


<< back to brochure index  |  on to next section >>