InterviewChemicals control meeting heralds new era of self-regulation

05 May 2009 18:02  [Source: ICIS news]

Alain Perroy of CeficLONDON (ICIS news)--Wider hazard data sharing will lay the groundwork for the implementation of a system for self-governance by the chemical industry, director general of Cefic, Alain Perroy said on Tuesday.

Perroy expects the industry to agree more details for a system to collect, analyse and share with the public data on chemical safety which will be used to set up the so called Global Product Strategy (GPS) for risk assessment of chemical manufacture at a meeting of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) in Geneva, Switzerland on 14 May.

The industry can help avoid heavy-handed regulation by showing it takes chemical safety regulation seriously, Perroy, who is also ICCA secretary, said.

“We believe in a good combination of regulation and industry initiatives.

“So I expect that by showing that the industry is doing the right job, [it] is taking responsibility to ensure safe production and use of chemicals, so that regulation can be developed that doesn’t create unnecessary bureaucracy or burden on the industry,” he added.

After the GPS initiative goes live, companies will be left to organise the collection and sharing of data themselves, Perroy said.

In Europe, companies will be able to re-use data currently being generated for the Reach regulation.

If a substance is found to be dangerous or harmful, it will be up to individual companies to decide how to restrict manufacture or find safer ways for their use, he added.

“It is not up to the ICCA or trade associations. We in the industry believe that the safe manufacture of chemicals can only result from a combination of good regulations which are workable and consistent across the world and industry initiatives," he said.

The ICCA meeting runs alongside a week-long Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) event.

The United Nations sponsored SAICM meeting, known as the International Conference on Chemicals Management 2 (ICCM2), aims to build on frameworks already established for the safe production and use of chemicals by 2020.

The GPS framework was agreed by the ICCA alongside ICCM1 in Dubai in 2006.

“At the Dubai meeting and since then our industry working parties have developed fully-fledged guidance for gathering of a minimum information set that allows a proper risk assessment of chemicals plus the organising of the sharing of that information across individual companies," said Perroy.

An important element of GPS is communication with the public: “We will also communicate to the public what we have learned from that exchange of information and evaluation of the risk assessment and management measures,” he added.

Perroy said the industry view would be made throughout the ICCM2 meetings in Geneva through short presentations and side events.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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