Last week the The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced a partnership designed to enhance technical cooperation around chemical management activities. ECHA is the agency that implements REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) management programme in the EU.
The two organisations released a statement of intent that puts in place a process for working together on a range of issues of mutual interest including toxicity testing, the hazard and risk assessment of chemicals, risk management tools, scientific collaboration and information exchange.
One expected area of collaboration will be around the exchange of data and information on hazards, uses and substance identification, including data collected under REACH. The two agencies will work towards increasing the availability of chemical information to the public as well as sharing information on approaches to more efficiently address chemicals of concern that are prioritised for regulatory action.
International collaboration around hazardous chemicals can only be a good thing environmentally. But it also has potential IT implications, given the compliance requirements around the implementation of REACH in Europe and the IT effort in implementation. The move may herald the possibility of a similar move in the US, although given the current level of resistance to most environmental legislation in that country US, there’s a long way to go yet.