NICNAS was established in July 1990 under 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 those in plastics, paints, inks, surface coatings, cosmetics and other consumer items.


The Scheme aims to facilitate the safe use of chemicals by making information on 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 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.


NICNAS assessment information assists state and territory agencies in regulating the control of use, release and disposal of industrial chemicals and supports the wide range of chemicals management legislation for the protection of human health and the environment.


NICNAS assessments also provide risk and safety information to industry, workers and the public to promote greater awareness of the potential dangers of chemicals and how to use them safely.