14/04/2010 - As regulators face tighter budgets and chemical companies cut costs to remain competitive, governments increasingly count on OECD’s chemical policies and instruments to cost-effectively ensure that products are safe.
"Cutting Costs in Chemicals Management: How OECD Helps Governments and Industry" analyses the rigorous and comprehensive system for assessing and managing chemicals – a system that saves governments and industry about EUR 150 million each year by “work sharing” facilitated by the OECD.
The chemicals industry, which includes pesticides, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and feed additives and cosmetics, is one of the world’s largest, with almost USD 3.7 trillion in annual sales. Since many substances are traded internationally, varying national requirements regarding their safety can mean duplication of efforts and significant costs for the chemicals industry, and can pose barriers to trade. By agreeing on test methods and data quality standards and sharing the workload of chemical safety testing and assessments, countries get good quality and cost-effective results.
For non-clinical health and safety testing, for example, the results of such studies done in one OECD country must be accepted by the others as long as they follow the OECD Test Guidelines and Principles of Good Laboratory Practice. This saves the chemicals industry expensive duplicate tests and reduces the number of animals needed for testing.
The report also describes the benefits of developing new test methods and guidelines to ensure that nanomaterials are safe; of working together to assess the risks of new and presently-used industrial chemicals and pesticides; and of harmonising chemical classification and labelling.
For further information, please contact Richard Sigman in the OECD Environment directorate at + 331 45 24 16 80 or visit www.oecd.org/ehs.