The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) was established in July 1990 under Australian Government legislation the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (the Act) to aid in the protection of workers, the public and the environment from the harmful effects of a wide range of industrial chemicals including plastics, paints, inks, surface coatings, cosmetics and other consumer chemicals.

The Scheme aims to ensure the safe and sustainable use of chemicals by making risk assessment and safety information on chemicals and their potential occupational health and safety (OHS), public health and/or environmental risks widely available to workers, the public, industry and other state, territory and Australian Government agencies. NICNAS scientific risk assessments support the wide range of chemicals management legislation for the protection of human health and the environment from the potential harmful effects of chemicals.

NICNAS assesses industrial chemicals that are new to Australia for their health and environmental effects before they are used or released to the environment. NICNAS also assesses those chemicals that are already in use in Australia (known as existing chemicals) on a priority basis in response to specific concerns about potential health and/or environmental effects.