OECD New Chemicals Taskforce

The OECD Parallel Process has been developed by the New Chemicals Task Force (NCTF) to facilitate the co-notification and assessment of new industrial chemicals amongst a number of member countries including Australia . NICNAS received five notifications under the OECD parallel process pilot phase, with Australia acting as the lead country for two of these. Four of these assessments were completed with reduced timeframes and fees achieved for assessments where Australia is the secondary country.

Australian industry continues to strongly support this harmonisation activity as it represents opportunities to extend into markets at reduced regulatory costs whilst maintaining high health, safety and environmental standards.

Other taskforce work involved NICNAS attending 17 teleconferences of the NCTF and its steering groups.

NICNAS met with Canadian authorities to further the Bilateral Arrangement and workplan on two occasions during 2005-06: in Toronto Canada and in Sydney . One teleconference on these issues was also conducted.

NCTF Work Group, meeting at NICNAS, Sydney, 7-9 November 2005Members included government and industry representatives from Australia, the US, Canada, Japan and Switzerland, pictured here with NICNAS staff.

International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS)

A body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the IPCS plays a leadership role within the international framework of chemicals management, the establishment of the scientific basis for the assessment of the risk to human health from exposure to chemicals. Australia contributes to the IPCS via annual funding from DoHA and as such has a strong interest that the program directions of IPCS reflect national priorities in the area of chemical safety and human health risk assessment for chemicals.

The IPCS Harmonisation Project delivers greater transparency in national assessments through application of internationally agreed risk assessment methodology. This has enhances opportunities for the exchange and use of assessments between countries, which is a key priority for NICNAS and the Australian chemical industry.

In her role as Australia ’s Representative on the IPCS Program Advisory Group (PAC) and as chair of the IPCS Steering Committee for the Harmonisation of Risk Assessment Methodologies Project, the Director attended the IPCS PAC meeting in Bangkok (23-24 March 2006). There, IPCS’s role and responsibilities within the WHO “healthy environments” priorities and chemicals within International Health Regulations (including alert systems for security-sensitive chemicals and chemical safety in children) were amongst a range of subjects discussed.