The OECD Cooperative Chemicals Assessment Programme (CoCAP) was established, based on the previous High Production Volume (HPV) Chemicals Programme (see History of the Programme), to better respond to the changing needs of member countries. The programme specifically addresses a number of member country challenges, such as:
Assessing more chemicals in a shorter period of time
Key Programme Areas
The programme focuses on four principal areas:
The focus of the Cooperative Chemicals Assessment Programme is to derive OECD-wide agreed hazard assessments of chemicals. The scope of the programme includes HPV chemicals as well as non-HPV, new and existing industrial chemicals.
The Screening Information Data Set (SIDS) (See Chapter 2 of the Manual for the Assessment of Chemicals) is the reference data set to perform an initial assessment in accordance with the OECD Decision-Recommendation of the Council on the Cooperative Investigation and Risk Reduction of Existing Chemicals [C(90)163/FINAL] (PDF). Full SIDS initial assessments, which address all SIDS endpoints for chemicals and chemical categories, are sponsored and prepared by member countries and the chemical industry. Hazard assessments prepared by the chemical industry and authorities (in the context of national/regional and industry programmes) can be submitted to the programme with minimal rewriting and reformatting. However the general objectives of the SIDS Initial Assessment Report and SIDS Dossier must be met when submitting full SIDS assessments.
The programme also generates targeted assessments, i.e. hazard assessments that address a limited number of hazard endpoints short of the full SIDS assessment, or for other non-SIDS hazard endpoints. The purpose of elaborating targeted assessments is to increase the availability of internationally agreed hazard assessments (even if it is on a limited number of endpoints) and thereby improve efficiency.
Specific types of chemicals, such as metals/inorganics, petroleum substances or polymers are also addressed in addition to developing the necessary guidance to assess the hazards of these substances.
Member countries and industry share the task of elaborating and reviewing hazard assessments for chemicals, while maintaining the current OECD high quality of assessments. Industry can submit draft assessments either via a sponsor country, which will perform a first review of the assessment, or directly through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to OECD (BIAC).
The status of all chemicals being assessed in the programme as well as access to final agreed assessments is available in the OECD Existing Chemical Database. OECD-wide agreed hazard assessments will also be disseminated via the OECD Global Portal to Information of Chemical Substances.
Agreed conclusions are regularly published in a collection of cooperative chemicals assessments in the OECD Series on Testing and Assessment.
The Cooperative Chemicals Assessment Programme develops integrated approaches to testing and assessment and improves their regulatory acceptance, by applying them to actual hazard assessments elaborated within the programme.
Efforts continue to focus on expanding the chemical category concept, which has proven so successful over the last 10 years. New ways of grouping chemicals into toxicologically appropriate categories, e.g. according to mechanisms or modes of action, are also being investigated.
Furthermore, the programme continues to improve the expertise in and regulatory acceptance of (Q)SAR methodologies in general, via an improved collaboration between (Q)SAR experts and hazard assessors and trainings.
As new types of data such as genomics or high-throughput in vitro test results become available, the programme will investigate how such data sets can be used to characterize the hazards of chemicals.
As member countries implement their national/regional programmes to assess more chemicals in a shorter timeframe, the potential for duplication of work increases. eChemPortal continues to improve access to existing hazard information and assessments, including GHS classifications and underlying datasets. The Programme is also a forum to share future plans for chemical assessment within countries and regions and to discuss possible partnerships, so contributing to the goal of avoiding duplication.
The Programme is also a forum to exchange experience among member countries to avoid duplication of effort and identify issues for collaborative work. Examples of topics for exchange of information and experience are:
The Programme has helped member countries and industry pool resources to assess the hazards of over 1200 industrial chemicals in its 22-year history, and has contributed to the development of many tools and techniques used in the assessment of chemicals around the world.