New chemicals can only be introduced by the holder of an assessment certificate (unless the chemical is covered by a permit or under specific NICNAS exemptions). After five years and in some cases after assessment, the chemical is listed on the AICS and is available for open use. The assessment report is provided to the notifier, who is able to use the report to support their responsibilities for control of the chemical, for example, state and territory hazardous substances legislation, environmental legislation and Poisons Scheduling. The full public report, including recommendations on safe use, is available to the public on the NICNAS website (www.nicnas.gov.au) and may be used by state and territory agencies and in the workplace. Commercially sensitive information may be exempt from publication in the full public report, if the commercial interest outweighs the public interest. Summary reports of each assessment are published in the Commonwealth Chemical Gazette. Several certificate notification categories are available as follows:
Standard notification (STD)
Required for all new industrial chemicals and biopolymers where the volume of introduction is greater than 1,000 kg/year, and new polymers with a number-average molecular weight (NAMW) less than 1,000 daltons (except certain polyesters of low risk). This category requires the highest level of data including toxicological and ecotoxicological test data, chemical identity, physico -chemical properties, use pattern, occupational, environmental and public exposure information, environmental fate data, Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and label.
Limited notification (LTD)
These are required for all new industrial chemicals and biopolymers where the volume of introduction is less than 1,000 kg/year (or 10 tonne /year in the event that they are manufactured in Australia, solely for the purpose of further manufacture at the same site) and new synthetic polymers with a NAMW greater than 1,000 daltons. Data requirements are less than for a standard notification (includes chemical identity, physico -chemical properties, use pattern, occupational, environmental and public exposure, MSDS and label), however, all available data must be provided.
Polymers of Low Concern (PLC)
These chemicals are defined by predetermined criteria to be of low hazard to humans and the environment. PLC can be introduced into Australia with reduced fees and reduced data requirements.
Extension of original assessment certificate (EXT)
The original assessment certificate can be extended to include other introducers, providing the original certificate holder agrees in writing. In addition to specific data requirements, new information on exposure or adverse health and environmental effects must also be provided.
Audited self-assessment allows industry to self-assess low regulatory concern chemicals against specified criteria and provide an assessment report which is screened and adopted by NICNAS. This category is available for Polymers of Low Concern (SAPLC) and Non-hazardous chemicals (SANHC) and non-hazardous polymers (SANHP) other than PLC. The holder of a self-assessment certificate must keep relevant records and report to the Director annually.