Second Science Forum features Harmonisation of Health Risk Assessment

On 24 September 2003, Science Forum 2, a one-day seminar focusing on "Best Practice Risk Assessment through Harmonisation" brought together Australian and overseas experts on chemical safety. This theme is relevant as Australia plays a committed role in contributing to global harmonisation and best practice risk assessment methodology.


Agencies represented included Health portfolio regulatory agencies, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (ASCC) and the Environmental Risk Management Authority, New Zealand (ERMA). Industry, academia and community representatives also attended this forum for the first time.


With over 100 participants, including several international health risk assessment experts, there was a lot of information to learn and share!


One main discussion area was the WHO's International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) - a key program in the delivery of better global cooperation for risk assessment outcomes. The IPCS seeks to harmonise risk assessment methodology approaches through a process that promotes interaction and communication - such as the Science Forum. It also involves willingness to work long-term towards the similarity of approaches resulting in efficient use of resources and consistency among assessments.


During the day, presentations were given by many of the overseas experts including Dr William Farland, from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Dr Tim Meredith (World Health Organisation (WHO), IPCS Coordinator) who spoke about "Harmonisation of Cancer Risk Assessment" and the "Redesign of IPCS" respectively.


Dr Stephen Olin from the International Life Sciences Institute in Washington DC (ILSI) and Dr Roshini Jayewardene from the Office of Chemical Safety spoke about "Exposure Assessment; Harmony amidst Diversity".


Science Forum 2 was a valuable opportunity to enhance the efficiency of chemicals regulation in Australia - particularly due to the presence of many eminent overseas speakers who kindly gave of their time to assist us in our pursuit of best practice assessment through credible science.

About the Science Forum

The Science Forum was established as part of the Government's response to industry's request for sharing (and ensuring we deliver) best practice approaches to health risk assessment and management of chemicals among Government regulatory agencies.


It is chaired by Dr Margaret Hartley, the Director of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) and the Office of Chemical Safety, within the TGA Group of Regulators.