Thursday, February 10, 2011

ECHA Updates its Online IT Tool to Allow Searching by Categories of Chemicals

For those deeply into REACH, the EU's chemical control law, the European Chemical Agency's (ECHA) web site is a treasure trove of helpful guidance and IT tools.  One of the tools available for free download is the "dissemination tool," which can be used to search for those chemical substances that have been registered and also "disseminated" online.  Up until now the tool only allowed for filtering single-substance registrations.  The new version of the tool "can now also filter registration dossiers based on a category approach."

The dissemination tool is pretty handy, at least for that small subset of chemical dossiers that have made it to the public phase.   Many more are still being processed from the thousands of dossiers submitted.  Eventually all of the public information will be online (the deadline for dissemination of all dossiers submitted by November 30, 2010 is March 1, 2011).  Many chemicals were submitted as single chemicals, i.e., one chemical, one dossier.  Other chemicals were submitted as part of what is called a "category approach."  In this approach the registrants can combine the data for several chemicals that a closely related, usually by structure but also by physical-chemical, environmental fate, and toxicological properties.  Having data on one chemical and a thorough understanding of the relationships between chemicals can offer the advantage of using a patchwork of data from a series of related chemicals and obviate the need to do costly testing on every single chemical.  It also results in a significant reduction in unnecessary animal testing.

The dissemination tool is a plug-in to IUCLID, the database system used by the EU and other areas to submit summaries of the chemical and toxicological studies available for registered chemicals.  It can be downloaded on the IUCLID5 website.

More information on the tool and links to the download sites can be found on the ECHA web site.

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