Risk management of chemicals

The costs and benefits of regulating chemicals


The SACAME project

SACAME stands for the Socio-economic Analysis of Chemicals by Allowing a better quantification and monetisation of Morbidity and Environmental impacts.

Chemicals are used in every product and play an important role in the everyday life of people around the world. Such products provide protection for crops and increase yields, prevent and cure disease, and provide countless other benefits that make life better for people. However, chemicals need to be soundly managed to avoid risk to human health and the environment. OECD has worked with governments and industry since the 1970s to improve chemical safety and biosafety and also to harmonise approaches to their assessment and management in order to save resources for both government and industry.


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30-31 August 2017:

Health Canada hosted a workshop on Best Practices in Assessing the Social Costs of Selected Chemicals that was held in Ottawa.


Through the sharing and analysis of concrete case studies, this workshop had the objective to discuss best practices in assessing the social costs of management of selected chemicals including both private costs (such as costs to business) and externalities (such as the cost to society of environmental pollution). The workshop focused mainly on valuation of the benefits to society of managing chemicals but also include discussion of the valuation of the costs to business in the context of the case studies. Five cases were discussed (mercury containing compounds, formaldehyde, phthalates, PFOA and salts, NMP).

6-8 July 2016: The European Chemicals Agency hosted a workshop on the Socioeconomic Impact Assessment of Chemicals Management  - Experiences, methods and information requirements for quantifying the costs and benefits of regulating the risks related to chemicals, in Helsinki, Finland.

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The workshop aimed to identify the current status of practice and methodologies for cost-benefit analysis of risk management measures and frameworks addressing the human health and environmental impacts of chemicals in OECD Member Countries. It focused on the methods currently used across jurisdictions and intergovernmental organisations.

This workshop was hosted by the European Chemicals Agency, with funding contributions from the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency and the American Chemistry Council.

More about the project

This project supports the socio-economic analysis of chemicals by helping to better quantify and monetise morbidity and environmental impacts and builds on the OECD's work on quantifying the social costs of environmental externalities, particulary in recent years on The Cost of Air Pollution. The work is carried out jointly by the OECD’s Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology as well as the Working Party on Integrating Environment and Economic Policies.

Under a number of national legislations for managing chemicals, socio-economic analysis is an established method that informs decision making and the selection of policy options  for managing chemicals  for which an environmental or human health risk has been identified. These actions can include banning, restricting or other approaches applied to manage the manufacture, import, use, release or disposal of a specific chemical.  Socieoeconomic-analysis can also support justification of the value of investment of public funds in operating chemical management systems.



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