Regulatory challenges are similar worldwide; regulatory regimes vary even as they tend to converge. With the modernisation of chemicals legislation across different regulatory constituencies – REACH in the European Union; Asian “REACHs”; approaches under the NICNAS reform; the new TSCA; convergence under the auspices of the OECD and the United Nations – all actors can draw on an increasing amount of data and information of which a considerable amount is publicly available from various portals. What synergies does this allow between regulators worldwide? Does this information provide advantages to industry?
On the side of data generation and reporting, testing methods and templates are being harmonised, tools such as the OECD standards and IUCLID are being used more widely, global trade is making companies familiarise themselves with regulatory information requirements of other regulatory regions. Can only multinational or large companies be global players?
On the side of regulatory oversight, what information requirements are satisfying regulators? Currently, for instance, the EU and the USA differ on deeming the concept of the robust study summary sufficient for assessing the risks of chemical substances. Can the requirements be made more consistent worldwide?
Industry and regulators can surely benefit from sharing data to reduce their workloads in assessing hazardous chemicals. What are the boundaries to the opportunities that global data sharing may offer? What are the bottlenecks? Are data ownership and confidentiality provisions a hindrance, in actual practice? Can authorities actually agree on the needs for information? Are they able to share data with their peers? How can industry and regulators make smarter use of available data?
Panellists from the OECD and ECHA, from the national regulators of Australia and Canada as well as from industry will be debating these important questions. Bringing light to them seems timely as all actors need to optimise their efficiencies in light of public austerity budgets or strong competition in developed industrial markets. I expect an interesting in-depth discussion analysing the current state-of-play and laying out promising pathways for the future.
Director of Cooperation, ECHA
The Panel about Global Data Sharing will take place on Thursday 26th May 2016 in Helsinki Chemicals Forum. You are also welcome to join the conversation on Twitter @ChemicalsForum.