OECD governments have significant and comprehensive regulatory frameworks for preventing and/or minimising the health and environmental risks posed by chemicals. The objective of these frameworks is to ensure that chemical products already on the market are safe or managed in a safe way, and that new ones are properly assessed before being placed on the market. This is done by testing the chemicals, assessing the results, and taking appropriate action. However, different national chemical control policies can lead to duplication in testing and government assessment, thereby wasting the resources of industry and government alike. They also create non-tariff or technical barriers to trade in chemicals; discourage research, innovation and growth and increase the time it takes to introduce a new product onto the market.
The case study on chemical safety was developed by the OECD Environment, Health and Safety Programme, which has been working for over 40 years to harmonise chemical safety tools and policies across jurisdictions and to share work across governments on chemical assessments and common problems.