Who should and shouldn't be registered with AICIS?

If your business in Australia imports or manufactures any kind of industrial chemical, no matter how small the amount, you must register with the Australian Industrial Chemical Introduction Scheme (AICIS), BEFORE you manufacture or import any quantity.

What is an 'Industrial Chemical?'

The term ‘industrial chemical’ covers a broad range of chemicals used in inks, adhesives, cosmetics, soaps, solvents, paints, plastics and many more products.

The only exceptions are those chemicals for agricultural and veterinary use, which are regulated by Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), chemicals for therapeutic use, regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and those for food use, which are regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Typical Products containing Chemicals that should be Registered with AICIS

Who must register with AICIS?

AICIS registration is mandatory if your business:

  • imports industrial chemicals, or products that release industrial chemicals into Australia
  • imports finished and packaged products that release industrial chemicals – for example, labelled cosmetic products (soap, shampoo, lotion), paint, glues, engine oil and pens
  • imports industrial chemicals for reformulation in Australia
  • manufactures industrial chemicals in Australia

You must register even if:

  • you only use the chemicals within your business (for example, you import a coolant to use for machines in your factory)
  • someone else is already importing or manufacturing the same or similar chemicals
  • you’re a small or start-up business
  • you introduce a low volume of chemicals (for example, you import 9 grams of resin for use in plastic coatings)
  • you introduce chemicals that you believe are non-hazardous, or have documentation to show that they’re not hazardous

You must register your business regardless of the quantity of chemicals that you import or manufacture – there is no threshold limit. Furthermore, your registration must be renewed each year that you continue to import or manufacture the chemicals.

Who doesn't need to register?

Some businesses don’t need to register with AICIS, as some chemical introductions do not need to be categorised and controlled. The exceptions are very specific and listed as the following:

  • Australian-made soap using lye and a maximum of 10 kg of fat or oil
  • Products made by blending ingredients that were only bought within Australia
  • Naturally occurring chemicals, extracted without chemical change
  • Non-isolated intermediates: produced in the process of manufacturing another industrial chemical, consumed during the manufacture, not intentionally removed from the equipment in which it is manufactured and not likely to be released into the environment during normal operations
  • Incidentally introduced chemicals arising from an incomplete reaction of materials used in the manufacture of another industrial chemical, or an unintended constituent present in the materials used in the manufacture of the other industrial chemical, or a chemical produced by the exposure of the other industrial chemical to light, heat or other environmental conditions during handling or storage, or a chemical produced by a chemical reaction during the manufacture or use of another industrial chemical
  • Chemicals unintentionally released from an article, such as chemicals leaching from a plastic chair during use or disposal, or chemicals leaking from a sealed battery cell
  • Transshipment chemicals, which are introduced at a port or airport in Australia, remaining subject to customs control and leaving Australia within 25 working days
  • Chemicals introduced incidentally on an aircraft or ship which are not freight
  • Chemicals introduced only for personal use, and NOT for any business activity
  • Foreign businesses using an Australian distributor (the Australian distributor must be registered with AICIS)
  • Articles not intended to release chemicals, e.g. a plastic table or chair.
  • Non-industrial chemicals

The definitions are covered in detail by a great deal of legislation intended to deal with specific situations. If your business is in any way uncertain as to your AICIS registration responsibilities, you are welcome to contact Maria Velez, our resident AICIS specialist.

This communication (including any attachment) has been prepared by BWES and is based on the available information at the time of publication and is believed to be true and accurate. The information contained in this communication should be used as a guide only and may cease to apply if applicable regulation or the product’s design or application is altered. BWES does not take responsibility for any Injury, Loss for damage suffered by any party’s interpretation or decisions made by any party on the information provided in this communication.