During the year, NICNAS received and accepted 288 notifications for new chemicals not previously listed on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances.

Of these, 178 were applications for certificates and 110 for permits, decreases of 6 per cent and 35 per cent respectively over last year. In addition, 79 per cent of these notifications included considerations for confidentiality of data.

NICNAS issued 197 assessment certificates and published assessment reports for each chemical, an increase of 6 per cent from last year. A total of 122 new chemical permits were issued, down 16 per cent on last year.

There was a notable increase in the number of complex assessments received, such as those relating to cosmetics and personal care products.

A cyclical pattern has been observed with certificate applications, with rises and falls reflecting general fluctuations in business activity, although these cannot be linked to any particular industry sector.

The high number of standard notifications received was maintained; there was an increase in the number for polymers of low concern, but a fall in the number of limited applications lodged.

Applications for extension of assessment certificate increased slightly, but this remains an option under- utilised by industry.

The number of low volume chemical permit applications, particularly for renewals, was lower than expected. Of the new permits issued (not including renewals) 44 per cent were for cosmetic ingredients, 44 per cent for printing chemicals, and the remainder for surface coatings and other industrial uses.

A total of 56 early introduction permits were requested, or 38 per cent of certificate notifications received, excluding extensions and self-assessments.

These permits enable chemicals that are not hazardous substances or dangerous goods, and which meet certain environmental criteria, to be introduced and used while NICNAS is undertaking its assessments.

The issuing of an early introduction permit assists the introduction of safer chemicals, entry of which to the marketplace would otherwise have been delayed until full assessment was completed.

The following three-year trend data demonstrate a sustained trend of about one-third of certificate applications including an application for an early introduction permit.

Utilisation of EIP categories over three years

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

EIP received 52 57 56

Total STD/LTD/PLC received 147 158 147

Key: EIP - early introduction permit, STD - standard, LTD - limited, and PLC - polymer of low concern

Additional information, such as new toxicological studies, proposed new uses or increased import volumes was received under secondary notification requirements for 10 previously assessed chemicals not yet on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances.

This possibly demonstrates an increased awareness of post-assessment regulatory obligations. Re-assessment of one chemical was required in the year, and therefore only one secondary notification application was received and completed.

A decision regarding re-assessment is pending for two chemicals for which new information was received.

Numbers of assessment certificates (STD, LTD, or PLC) issued under various industrial use categories in 2007-08 are provided below, followed by three-year comparative data on numbers of New Chemicals certificates and permits.

Industrial uses of standard, limited and polymers of low concern chemicals assessed in 2007-08

Use category Number

Engineering 10

Cosmetics/Personal 14

Domestic/Cleaning 1

Education, Research & Development 0

Electrical/Electronic 3

Fuel and Oil 18

Leather Processing 2

Manufacturing of other Chemicals 0

Mining and Metal Extraction 5

Office Supplies 5

Packaging, Paper and Pulp 2

Photographic 1

Plastics 13

Printing Industry 14

Refrigeration 0

Surface Coatings 44

Textile Processing 5

Water Treatment 3

Other 39

Number of completed New Chemicals certificate/permit assessments over three years

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Certificates 202 185 197

Permits 120 146 122

Number of New Chemicals certificate/permit applications received over three years, by category

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Certificates

STD 41 48 41

LTD 45 52 39

PLC 61 58 67

SAPLC 45 20 16

SANHP 3 0 0

SANHC 14 10 14

Permits

EOP - 7 2

CEC 56 34 26

CECR 5 9 12

LVC 42 70 26

LVCR 8 46 11

Total 307 299 231

Key: STD: Standard, LTD: Limited, PLC: Polymer of Low Concern, SAPLC: Self-Assessment for Polymer of Low Concern notification, SANHP: Self-Assessment for Non-Hazardous Polymer notification, SANHC: Self-Assessment for Non-Hazardous Chemical notifi cation, EOP: Export Only Permit, CEC: Commercial Evaluation Category, CECR: Commercial Evaluation Category Renewal, LVC: Low Volume Chemical, LVCR: Low Volume Chemical Permit Renewal.