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Australian Government Department of Health

Aus Govt _200-150Established in 1990, the Australian Government Department of Health National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) regulates industrial nanomaterials that are used in products such as paints, dyes, inks and surface coatings, plastics, cosmetics and consumer goods.

NICNAS regulates industrial nanomaterials within the framework operating for conventional industrial chemicals. Consistent with the objects of the Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Act 1989, NICNAS' strategy for regulating industrial nanomaterials aims to:

  • identify substances that are considered to be nano-forms of industrial chemicals for regulatory purposes, through a NICNAS working definition;
  • review and revise regulatory requirements and assessment methodology for new and existing conventional chemicals to determine their appropriateness for nanomaterials;
  • benchmark our regulatory and assessment approach against those of comparable national and international regulatory authorities;
  • harmonise data requirements and assessment methodology, where appropriate;
  • enhance organisational risk assessment capability;
  • educate stakeholders on health, safety and environmental impacts of industrial nanomaterials;
  • monitor industry compliance with NICNAS legislative and administrative requirements.

NICNAS has developed a working definition for industrial nanomaterials. Regulatory requirements for nanomaterials depend on whether a substance is a nano-form of a 'new chemical' (i.e. not listed on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances, also known as AICS) or a nano-form of an 'existing chemical' (i.e. listed on the AICS). NICNAS keeps up-to-date on scientific developments and has also published information on the health effects of certain industrial nanomaterials, including:

NICNAS engages with its regulatory and scientific counterparts through multi-lateral forums and bi-lateral arrangements with comparable regulatory authorities. At a national level, NICNAS engages through: the Australian Government Enabling Technologies (Nanotechnology) Health, Safety and Environment Working Group; Safe Work Australia's Nanotechnology Work, Health and Safety (WHS) Working Group and; the Standards Australia Nanotechnology Committee NT001, Mirror Committee to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Nanotechnology Technical Committee (TC229). NICNAS's international engagement includes involvement in the activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN).

Further details of NICNAS's regulatory activity in regards to nanotechnology are available on its website

Did you know?

100 nm is the size below which the EU recommendation of the definition of nanomaterials applies.