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US, EU Countries to Partner on Chemical Safety

Monday, December 20, 2010

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Geert Dancet

The Environmental Protection Agency and European Chemicals Agency have announced a partnership to “share knowledge and exchange experience and best practice” on chemical management activities.

The agreement establishes cooperation on a range of “technical issues of mutual interest and concern,” including toxicity testing, the hazard and risk assessment of chemicals, risk management tools and scientific collaboration, EPA said in a statement.

ECHA said the goal was “to strengthen the scientific dialogue between the [European Union] and the U.S.”

The partnership, formalized in a Statement of Intent Nov. 15, was highlighted Friday (Dec. 17) at the Transatlantic Economic Council meeting in Washington, D.C., where the Council issued a statement stressing the importance for enhanced cooperation on chemicals.

ECHA is the agency that implements the European Union’s chemical management program known as REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals).

Sharing Data, Publicizing Information

A priority for the partnership will be the exchange of data and information. For example, ECHA and EPA may exchange non-confidential information on hazards, uses and substance identification, including data collected under REACH.

The agencies will also share criteria for managing confidential business information, with the goal of increasing the availability of chemical information to the public. The agencies may also share information on approaches to more efficiently address chemicals of concern that are prioritized for regulatory action.

The initiative may include:

• Scientific collaboration and information exchange, particularly in regard to the registration or inventory and hazard and risk assessment  of chemical substances;

• Exchange of operational experience and experience in strengthening regulatory capacities;

• Communication activities;

• ”Active dissemination” of public information and publications related to each other’s activities;

• Information exchange on matters of common interest, including emerging risks from chemical substances or guidance development; and

• Sharing information and experience on risk identification, risk assessment and risk management tools and other similar products and related expertise.

The participants also said they expected to exchange training materials, organize joint training events, and share best practices.

‘Closer Cooperation’

In practice, the co-operation will take place between ECHA and the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and National Centre for Computational Toxicology.

“This Statement of Intent will lead the way to a closer cooperation between both regulatory authorities to the benefit of companies and citizens on both sides of the North-Atlantic Ocean,” said ECHA executive director Geert Dancet.

   

Tagged categories: EPA; Health and safety

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