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Protection of chemical name as confidential business information using AACN

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What is an AACN?

An AACN is a generic or 'masked' chemical name. We publish it instead of the chemical’s full name to protect a chemical’s identity. We will use an AACN if we’ve approved an application to protect a chemical’s identity as confidential business information (CBI) . This occurs under Part 6 Division 4 (Confidentiality and disclosure) of the Industrial Chemicals Act 2019 and associated Rules, where we apply a statutory test  that balances commercial and public interests to determine if the application to protect a chemical’s identity as CBI should be approved.

Similar systems of generic chemical naming are also used in other jurisdictions such as the US, Canada and the EU.

When you apply to us for CBI protection of your chemical’s identity, we’ll expect you to include a suggestion of a proposed AACN. If you don’t suggest one, we’ll create one for you (if we approve your CBI application). We’ll do this by changing only one part of the chemical’s name. We call this an AACN with one level of masking.


How to mask a chemical name

You mask a chemical name by replacing specific parts of the full chemical name with a related generic name that could represent various specific parts that would disclose the chemical's full identity. The way you mask a chemical’s name depends on the type of chemical.

An AACN must:

  • use the minimal amount of masking that will protect anonymity (these are called masking levels and start at level 1)
  • not mask the part of the chemical known to cause toxicity or environmental fate concerns (unless you can justify why this is needed)

If you mask your chemical higher than level 1, you’ll have to justify this to us. This justification should be based on scientific or technical factors as to why a particular level of masking won’t provide adequate protection of the chemical identity, and so is different to the factors we consider for the statutory test when approving an application to protect a chemical’s identity as CBI.

An AACN can:

  • be the same as a masked name for the same chemical used in an overseas jurisdiction
  • only apply to one chemical. If masking your chemical name could end up with an existing AACN, an appended modifier (such as a number) will be applied to distinguish it (i.e. each AACN uniquely describes only one chemical)

How we check a proposed AACN is valid

We’ll check your proposed AACN to determine whether it is acceptable, including whether it has been created in accordance with this guidance. We may also consult with risk managers to make sure they can effectively implement any risk management recommendations using the proposed AACN. If it is acceptable and your CBI application is approved, we will use this AACN when publicly referring to the chemical. If we have already issued an AACN for the same chemical to a previous introducer, we will provide you with that same AACN (as each chemical can only have one AACN).


When we use an AACN instead of the full chemical name

We will use an AACN whenever we publish information about the chemical for the 5 years from when we approve the application for CBI (unless the approval is revoked). This includes publication in any subsequent assessment statements relating to introductions of the chemical by other introducers.


AACNs on the chemical Inventory

We'll use your chemical's AACN on its Inventory listing and make it clear that the name on the listing is an AACN.

Even though the AACN is a generic chemical name, it only corresponds to one chemical. You cannot assume that the Inventory listing covers any other chemical that could be described by that AACN. If you are intending to introduce a chemical that you think may be covered by an Inventory listing with an AACN then you will need to contact us to confirm whether the listing covers your chemical.

If CBI protection is removed, we’ll change the listing to include the CAS name instead of the AACN.


When it’s time to review a chemical’s CBI status

We review CBI status 5 years after each approval. We will only review it when continued protection with an AACN is still needed and will not consider changes to the approved AACN.


Masking information 

Example of chemical masking process

Proper chemical name:  “chloromethane”

“chloro” is replaced with the generic term “halo”. The element “chlorine” is a member of the “halogen” family of elements and thus related.

Masked chemical name: “halomethane”

The full chemical identity of a substance whose name is protected by the masked name “halomethane” could be “fluoromethane”, “bromomethane” or “iodomethane”, because the elements “fluorine”, “bromine” and “iodine” are also members of the “halogen” family. Hence the masked name provides some protection of the chemical’s identity. Moreover, because the generic term “halo” is chemically meaningful, “halomethane” still provides stakeholders with useful information concerning likely chemical structure, reactivity and potential toxicity without revealing the chemical’s identity.

Basing the generic name on a systematic chemical name (such as a CAS name or IUPAC name) keeps some degree of order to the masked chemical name. This allows a person to understand the “generic” structure of the chemical.

This is different to protecting the identity of the chemical by using a trade name. A trade name may not provide any indication of the chemical’s structure.


How masking levels work

One level of masking hides one feature of a chemical’s name. This includes repeats of that chemical feature.

Two levels of masking hide two features, and so on.

You do not need to justify one level of masking but for any higher masking, you must justify why this is needed. The exception to this is if you are proposing an AACN that is the same as a masked name from an overseas jurisdiction that uses a similar system of masking chemical names.

How you justify additional levels of masking

If you believe that one level of masking won’t protect your CBI, you will need to provide a justification for additional levels of masking. You will do this when applying for CBI and proposing the AACN.

In your justification you will need to consider all possible one level AACNs and why they would not result in adequate protection for the identity of your chemical. For example, a one level AACN may only cover a small number of chemicals or, the masked name may still reveal information that formed the basis of the CBI claim.

When you can justify that one level of masking isn’t enough to protect your CBI, you can then follow our guidance for proposing an AACN with 2 levels or more. You need to provide justification at every level as to why a particular level is not enough to protect your CBI.

There is no limit to the number of levels of masking that you can propose, as long as the number of levels is the minimum necessary to adequately protect the identity of your chemical.


Rules for masking your chemical's name

The proposed AACN for your chemical must:

  • be based on a CAS (our preference) or IUPAC name
  • use the least amount of masking to achieve anonymity
  • not mask any part of the chemical responsible for toxicity or environmental fate concerns, unless you can justify that:
    • you don’t know which parts are responsible; or
    • revealing this information would significantly compromise your CBI

If we have agreed to give your chemical an AACN, but the first choice of AACN is unavailable, we encourage you to propose an alternative. If an alternative AACN does not protect your CBI, we can approve an AACN that uses the same generic name as an existing AACN with an appended modifier (such as a number) to distinguish it.

The way you apply masking to create an AACN depends on the type of chemical.

Different types of chemical are named with varying precision under the CAS and IUPAC naming systems. For some chemicals, the full chemical identity may not always be obvious from their CAS name.

The following information will help you follow and understand masking rules for:

  • Discrete chemicals
  • Polymers
  • UVCBs
  • Enzymes

Discrete chemicals

Discrete chemicals have a definite chemical structure that can be represented by a definite molecular formula and chemical structure diagram.

The names of chemicals with a distinct chemical identity normally reveal the following structural information:

  1. identity of the parent structure
  2. identity, number, and position of chemical group(s) attached to the parent structure(s) or to other chemical groups
  3. identity and number of counter ions (for salts)
  4. stereochemical relationshipsYou can create an AACN for substances with a distinct chemical identity by masking structurally descriptive parts of the proper chemical name (i.e. CAS name or IUPAC name).You can substitute non-descriptive terms for distinctive parts of the proper chemical name.

You can create an AACN for substances with a distinct chemical identity by masking structurally descriptive parts of the proper chemical name (i.e. CAS name or IUPAC name).

You can substitute non-descriptive terms for distinctive parts of the proper chemical name.

The structurally descriptive parts of a chemical name that you can mask are:

  1. a suffix that specifies the position of a single chemical group (or locant)
  2. the locant and multiplicative prefixes (e.g., di-, tri-, tetra-) that together specify the position and number of a given chemical group
  3. the identity (but not position and number) of a given chemical group
  4. the identity of a given parent structure, and locants of a substituent chemical group
  5. the identity and multiplicative prefixes (specifying the number) of a given simple cation or anion of a salt
  6. the stereochemical or isomeric identifiers (e.g., D- or L-, R- or S-, E- or Z-, cis- or trans-)

Each of the above, and multiple occurrences of, is considered one level of masking. However, we are likely to accept as single level masked AACNs those that are created by eliminating stereochemical indicators (if appropriate) from the proper chemical name and by masking one other structural detail.

Parent structure

You can mask a parent structure that’s a chain of carbon atoms or a ring system in the chemical name using only the following masked terms:

  • alkyl or alkane
  • alkenyl or alkene
  • alkynyl or alkyne
  • aryl
  • carbomonocyclic or carbomonocycle (e.g., benzene, cyclopentane)
  • carbopolycyclic or carbopolycycle (e.g., naphthalene, spiroundecane)
  • heteromonocyclic or heteromonocycle (e.g., pyrrole, p-dioxane)
  • heteropolycyclic or heteropolycycle (e.g., indole, benzothiazole)

Chemical group

You can mask the identity of an attached chemical group in your chemical’s name using only the following masked terms:

  • alkyl, alkenyl, alkynyl
  • aryl
  • carbomonocylic or carbopolycyclic
  • heteromonocyclic or heteropolycyclic
  • halo or halide for halogens
  • “substituted’’ for substituents where no generic name can be established (e.g., amino, hydroxyl, oxo); ‘heteroatom-substituted” can also be used for heteroatom-based chemical groups
  • “stereoisomer(s) of’’ for isomers where the specific stereochemistry should not be revealed

You cannot mask a chemical group that includes a carbon atom having more than one single free valence (e.g., carbonyl, -CO-) if the carbon is:

  • directly attached to an acyclic carbon atom
  • included within a ring system.

In these circumstances, you can only mask the atom or group of atoms attached to the carbon atom (see Example 3, where the oxo group is masked).

In the case of inorganic and organic metal salts and organometallics, you can mask the identity of the metal atom by substituting with the terms:

  • “metal”
  • “transition metal”
  • “alkali metal”
  • “alkaline earth metal

The following examples show how you can mask a discrete chemical with 1 or 2 levels of masking. However, there is no limit to the number of levels of masking that you can use, provided we accept your justification.

Example 1

Proper chemical name: 1H-Imidazole, 4,5-dihydro-2-(phenylmethyl)-, hydrochloride (1:1)

Single masking

Acceptable AACN

4,5-Dihydro-1H-imidazole parent

Heteromonocycle, 2-(phenylmethyl)-, hydrochloride (1:1)

Phenylmethyl group

1H-Imidazole, 4,5-dihydro-2-carbomonocyclic-, hydrochloride (1:1)

Hydrochloride salt

1H-Imidazole, 4,5-dihydro-2-(phenylmethyl)-, (1:1) salt

Double masking

Acceptable AACN

Phenylmethyl group and hydrochloride salt

1H-Imidazole, 4,5-dihydro-2-carbomonocylic-, (1:1) salt

Example 2

Proper chemical name: 2-Pentenoic acid, 2,4-dimethyl-, ethyl ester, (2E)-

Single masking

Acceptable AACN

Pentane parent

2-Alkenoic acid, 2,4-dimethyl-, ethyl ester, (2E)-

Methyl group

2-Pentenoic acid, 2,4-dialkyl-, ethyl ester, (2E)-

Locants and multiplicative prefixes of methyl groups

2-Pentenoic acid, methyl substituted, ethyl ester, (2E)-

Ethyl ester

2-Pentenoic acid, 2,4-dimethyl-, alkyl ester, (2E)-

Stereochemistry

Stereoisomer of 2-pentenoic acid, 2,4-dimethyl-, ethyl ester

Pentane parent and stereochemistry

Stereoisomer of 2-alkenoic acid, 2,4-dimethyl-, ethyl ester

Double masking

Acceptable AACN

Pentane parent and methyl groups

2-Alkenoic acid, 2,4-dialkyl-, ethyl ester, (2E)-

Example 3

Proper chemical name: 2-Anthracenesulfonic acid, 1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dichloro-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-, sodium salt (1:2)

Single masking

Acceptable AACN

Anthracene parent

2-Carbopolycyclesulfonic acid,
1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dichloro-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-,
sodium salt (1:2)

Oxo group

2-Anthracenesulfonic acid,
1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dichloro-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-disubstituted-,
sodium salt (1:2)

Metal salt

2-Anthracenesulfonic acid,
1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dichloro-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-,
metal salt (1:2) (or alkali metal salt (1:2))

Sulfo group

2-Anthracene hetero-acid,
1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dichloro-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-hetero-acid
phenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-, sodium salt (1:2)

Chloro group

2-Anthracenesulfonic acid,
1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dihalo-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-,
sodium salt (1:2)

Triazine parent (+ locants)

2-Anthracenesulfonic acid, 1-amino-4-[[3-[(dichloro-heteromonocyclic)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-, sodium salt (1:2)

Double masking

Acceptable AACN

Anthracene parent + chloro groups

2-Carbopolycyclesulfonic acid, 1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dihalo-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-, sodium salt (1:2)

Anthracene parent + metal salt

2-Carbopolycyclesulfonic acid,
1-amino-4-[[3-[(4,6-dihalo-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl)amino]-4-sulfophenyl]amino]-9,10-dihydro-9,10-dioxo-,
metal salt (1:2)

Example 4

Proper chemical name: 1H-1,2,4-Triazole, 1-[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)pentyl]-

Single masking

Acceptable AACN

Chloro group

1H-1,2,4-Triazole, 1-[2-(2,4-dihalophenyl)pentyl]-

Locants and multiplicative prefixes of chloro groups

1H-1,2,4-Triazole, 1-[2-(polyhalophenyl)pentyl]-

1H-1,2,4-Triazole parent

Heteromonocycle, 1-[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)pentyl]-

Pentane parent

1H-1,2,4-Triazole, 1-[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)alkyl]-

Double masking

Acceptable AACN

Phenyl parent and chloro group

1H-1,2,4-Triazole, 1-[2-(2,4-dihalocarbomonocycle)pentyl]-

Polymers

CAS names for polymers are either structure-based or source-based.

Structure-based names — These specify the structural repeating unit(s) (SRU) (comprised of one or more subunits) in the polymer. This includes any modifiers (such as the structure of capping units).

Source-based names — These specify the individual monomers and any other reactants that make up the polymer.

You can apply the same masking guidance for discrete chemicals to the parts of a polymer name as the SRUs, modifying units (structure-based names) and the monomers/other reactants (source-based names) are generally discrete structures/chemicals.

You can create an AACN for a polymer named using:

  • the source monomers/other reactants by masking structurally descriptive parts of a monomer or other reactant
  • SRU(s)/modifiers, by masking structurally descriptive parts of a subunit of a SRU or modifying structure.

The following examples show how you can mask a structure-based polymer name with up to 3 levels of masking:

  • 1 level of masking to 1 subunit of a SRU or modifying structure (1 level of masking)
  • 2 levels of masking to 1 subunit or modifying structure (effectively 2 levels of masking)
  • 1 level of masking to 2 subunits/modifying structure (the subunits may be in different SRUs) (effectively 2 levels of masking)
  • 1 level of masking to 3 subunits (effectively 3 levels of masking)
  • 2 levels of masking to 1 subunit/modifying structure and 1 level of masking to a different subunit/modifying structure (effectively 3 levels of masking)
  • 3 levels of masking to 1 subunit/modifying structure (effectively 3 levels of masking)

Example 5

Source-based polymer name

Proper polymer name: 2-Propenoic acid, 2-methyl-, polymer with cyclohexyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate, methyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate and phenylmethyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate, 2,2'-(1,2-diazenediyl)bis[4-methoxy-2,4-dimethylpentanenitrile]-initiated

Acceptable AACN with 3 levels of masking could be:

  • 1 level of masking in each of 3 monomers/other reactants

2-Alkenoic acid, 2-methyl-, polymer with cyclohexyl 2-alkyl-2-propenoate, methyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate and phenylmethyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate, 2,2'-(1,2-diazenediyl)bis[4-methoxy-2,4-dimethylalkanenitrile]-initiated

  • 1 level of masking in 1 monomer and 2 levels of masking in another monomer

2- Alkenoic acid, 2-methyl-, polymer with cycloalkyl 2-alkyl-2-propenoate, methyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate and phenylmethyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate, 2,2'-(1,2-diazenediyl)bis[4-methoxy-2,4-dimethylpentanenitrile]-initiated

  • 3 levels of masking in 1 monomer

2-Propenoic acid, 2-methyl-, polymer with cycloalkyl 2 -alkyl-2-alkenoate, methyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate and phenylmethyl 2-methyl-2-propenoate, 2,2'-(1,2-diazenediyl)bis[4-methoxy-2,4-dimethylpentanenitrile]-initiated

Example 6

Structure-based polymer name

Proper polymer name: Poly[imino-1,6-hexanediylimino(1,13-dioxo-1,13-tridecanediyl)]

A chemical structure diagram of Poly[imino-1,6-hexanediylimino(1,13-dioxo-1,13-tridecanediyl)].

Acceptable AACN with 2 levels of masking could be:

  • level of masking in 2 different subunits of the SRU
  • The second AACN example provides arguably stronger protection. This is because disguising both the locant and the chain length means the alkane segment between the 2 nitrogens could be of any length greater than 1 carbon.

UVCBs

Unknown or Variable Composition, Complex Reaction products and Biological Materials (UVCBs) have some uncertainty in their chemical identity. They don’t have definite molecular formulas or chemical structure diagrams. They often have variable structural elements that are undefined or have unknown structural elements.

Some substances can only be represented by partial or incomplete chemical structures. In other instances the composition can only be described in terms of a complex combination of several different known or unknown components.

The method of manufacture can also identify a substance. For a substance manufactured by a chemical reaction, identification can be stated in terms of the:

  • immediate precursor substances and other reactants that participate in the final reaction sequence used to manufacture the substance
  • the nature of the reaction (e.g., ethoxylation or bromination)

For a substance derived from a source without chemical reaction, processing information identifies the source and method of derivation (e.g., distillation).

Although the chemical name of UVCBs may be based on variable types of information, you can apply procedures similar to those used for discrete chemicals.

To mask manufacturing or chemical processing methods, you can use a more generic, structure-based descriptor or a more generic descriptor of the method. For example:

  • “methoxylated” or “ethoxylated” substituted with “alkoxylated”.
  • “oxidised” or “hydrogenated” substituted with “modified”
  • “fumerated” or “maleated” substituted with “functionalised”To mask source information, you can use a more generic descriptor of the source. For example:
  • “Oils, catnip” substituted with “plant-based oils,” and
  • “Fatty acids, tallow, sodium salts” substituted with “animal-based fatty acid salts”

If the UVCB substance is described based on the immediate precursors and other reactants, you can propose an AACN following some of the polymer guidance. You can use the rules for polymers named after the source monomers/other reactants. In this case, for 1 level of masking you would mask one precursor or other reactant (see below).

For example, you could mask the “1-chloronaphthalene” reactant in “Formaldehyde, reaction products with 1-chloronaphthalene” by substituting with “halonaphthalene” (one level) or “halocarbopolycycle” (two levels).

The following examples show how you can mask a UVCB with one or two levels of masking.

Example 7

Proper chemical name: Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), α-hydro-ω-hydroxy-, mono-C12-15-alkyl ethers, phosphates

Single masking

Acceptable AACN

C12-15 group

Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), α-hydro-ω-hydroxy-, monoalkyl ethers, phosphates

1,2-ethanediyl parent

Poly(oxyalkylenediyl), α-hydro-ω-hydroxy-, mono-C12-15-alkyl ethers, phosphates

Phosphate group

Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), α-hydro-ω-hydroxy-, mono-C12-15-alkyl ethers, hetero-acid

Example 8

Proper chemical name: 9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, reaction products with 3-(dodecen-1-yl)dihydro-2,5-furandione and triethylenetetramine

Single masking

Acceptable AACN

9-Octadecene parent

9-Alkenoic acid (9Z)-, reaction products with 3-(dodecen-1-yl)dihydro-2,5-furandione and triethylenetetramine

Stereochemistry

Stereoisomer of 9-octadecenoic acid, reaction products with 3-(dodecen-1-yl)dihydro-2,5-furandione and triethylenetetramine

2,5-Furandione parent

9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, reaction products with 3-(dodecen-1-yl)dihydro-heteromonocycle and triethylenetetramine

Dodecenyl group

9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, reaction products with 3-(alkenyl)dihydro-2,5-furandione and triethylenetetramine

Ethylene group

9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, reaction products with 3-(dodecen-1-yl)dihydro-2,5-furandione and trialkylenetetramine

Double masking

Acceptable AACN

2,5-Furandione parent and dodecenyl group

9-Octadecenoic acid (9Z)-, reaction products with 3-(alkylenyl)dihydro-heteromonocyle and triethylenetetramine

2,5-Furandione parent and stereochemistry

Stereoisomer of 9-octadecenoic acid, reaction products with 3-(dodecen-1-yl)dihydro-heteromonocyle and triethylenetetramine

Enzymes

You can create AACNs for enzymes by disguising the fourth level Enzyme Commission number description. This description is designated by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB)’s nomenclature committee.

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