Friday, April 29, 2011

European Chemical Association Establishes Five REACH/CLP Platforms

The online publication, Chemical Watch, has noted that the European Chemical Industry Council, better known as Cefic, has undertaken an internal restructuring in order to best handle the changing needs of its REACH and CLP industry clients.

According to Chemical Watch, Cefic's new "platforms and their responsibilities" are:
  • Registration – focusing on guidance and registration related topics for the next deadline in June 2013 and issues relating to SMEs.
  • Dossier Compliance – embracing the aspects of evaluation, including the dossier compliance check and testing proposals, and enforcement.
  • Restrictions and authorisation – looking at different aspects ranging from the initial proposals set out in Annex XV dossiers, through to Annex XIV Candidate List proposals and the granting of authorisations, which Mr Annys notes is now starting to be discussed in detail. He said the ECHA authorisation workshop earlier this month was a good first exchange of information and opportunity to understand what ECHA and the Commission expected companies include in their authorisation applications. He predicted that the newness and complexity of the process would likely mean the bulk of applications will come closer to the application date, rather than earlier on. He adds that the upcoming substance evaluation process, set to begin in 2012, will likely be closely related to the authorisation and restriction.
  • CLP and GHS – dealing with issues such as harmonised classification and labelling, how to develop common C&Ls, and safety data sheets.
  • Global Product Strategy – to fulfil industry’s commitment to meet the requirements of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management
More information on Cefic's changes can be found in the Chemical Watch article (available at the above link by subscription only) and on the Cefic site.

More information about the publication, Chemical Watch, can be found on their web site.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

EPA Heralds 2500 "Safer Products" Under Design for the Environment Program

Last week, "as part of the Earth Day 2011 tribute," the USEPA announced that "more than 2,500 products are now authorized by the agency under its Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program."  These products now can display the DfE label, which signifies that they "do not contain known chemicals of potential concern, like carcinogens, reproductive or developmental toxicants."  And coming shortly, says EPA, will be a requirement for "manufacturers with products that bear the DfE logo to disclose their ingredients to consumers."

According to Assistant Administrator Steve Owens in the press release:
“EPA’s DfE Program helps empower people to choose products that are safer for their families and our planet. The DfE program provides important information about the safety of certain products that contain chemicals and gives consumers confidence that DfE products meet rigorous requirements.”
As part of the DfE program, EPA "conducts a scientific evaluation to ensure that candidate products are formulated from the safest possible ingredients," then works with manufacturers to find safer alternatives. The DfE label "means that EPA has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that the product contains only ingredients that, in EPA’s scientific opinion, pose the least concern among chemicals in their class."

More information on the DfE Safer Product Labeling Program and Standard for Safer Products can be found at:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

National Research Council Recommends Climate Change and Other Research Plans for the Oceans

The National Research Council (NRC), part of the National Academies of Sciences, has issued a report recommending several actions related to ocean research.  According to the report, "the United States has jurisdiction over 3.4 million square miles of ocean in its exclusive economic zone," which "represents a prime national domain for activities such as maritime transportation, national security, energy and mineral extraction, fisheries and aquaculture, and tourism and recreation." But the NRC notes that "the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami are vivid reminders that ocean activities and processes have direct human implications both nationally and worldwide, understanding of the ocean system is still incomplete, and ocean research infrastructure is needed to support both fundamental research and societal priorities."

The report, Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030, "identifies major research questions anticipated to be at the forefront of ocean science in 2030 based on national and international assessments, input from the worldwide scientific community, and ongoing research planning activities." It "defines categories of infrastructure that should be included in planning for the nation's ocean research infrastructure of 2030 and that will be required to answer the major research questions of the future."
Ocean research infrastructure supports both fundamental and applied scientific research that addresses urgent societal concerns such as climate change, human health, domestic offshore energy production, national security, marine shipping, tsunami detection and severe storm tracking, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture growth, and changes in marine ecosystem services. However, significant components of national infrastructure are aged, obsolete, or insufficient to meet growing societal demand for scientific information to enable safe, efficient, and environmentally sustainable use of the ocean. A comprehensive range of ocean research infrastructure will be needed to overcome these challenges, and more interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research will require a growing suite of infrastructure.

The report can be ordered from the National Academy Press.  A summary and a "report in brief" can also be read online or downloaded as a PDF file.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pediatricians Call for Overhaul of TSCA Chemical Law

Industry, NGOs and States have all offered their reaction to Senator Lautenberg's introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.  And now the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for "an overhaul of the nation’s chemical management policy."  According to the AAP, "the current system fails to protect children and pregnant women, who are most vulnerable to hazardous chemical exposures."

The AAP notes that the current chemical control law – the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – has "not undergone any meaningful revision since it was first passed in 1976, and since then, the TSCA has been used to regulate only five chemicals or chemical classes."  The organization, which includes 60,000 pediatricians as members, published a policy statement in the May 2011 issue of Pediatrics that calls for chemical control policy in the US to be “substantially revised” to "consider the consequences on children and their families." Among the AAP's recommendations:
  • The regulation of chemicals must be based on evidence, but decisions to ban chemicals should be based on reasonable levels of concern rather than demonstrated harm. 
  • Any testing of chemicals should include the impact on women and children, including potential effects on reproduction and development.
  • Chemicals should meet safety standards similar to those met by pharmaceuticals or pesticide residues on food.
  • There should be post-marketing surveillance of chemicals, and the EPA must have the authority to remove a chemical if needed.
  • Federal funding should be provided for research to prevent, identify and evaluate the effects of chemicals on children’s health.
The policy statement can be found here.