The Parallel Process of the OECD New Chemicals Taskforce works towards mutual acceptance of notifications. Seeking to increase mutual understanding and acceptance of hazard assessments, a two-year pilot of a new chemicals notification process started in September 2005. This process enables companies to submit the same notification package to two or more countries. It has the potential to reduce government and industry resource burdens, increase transparency and improve information transfer without compromising environmental and human health protection. As reported under New Chemicals, six notifications have been received in total under the OECD parallel process pilot phase, including one LTD notification received this year.

The working group looking at Definitions, Exclusions and Exemptions aims to harmonise key definitions regarding regulation of industrial chemicals and polymers and work towards a common approach for substances which are either exempt from notification or subject to reduced regulatory requirements. The project has identified polymers particularly PLCs as suitable for such an approach.

NICNAS co-chaired and participated in the expert group meeting on polymers, held 6-8 March 2007, sharing and reviewing information on the various national schemes for polymers, commonalities and differences in polymer criteria and approaches. Participants also agreed to work towards a common approach for PLCs and proposed a set of actions to enable development of common PLC criteria: data-sharing and documentation which provides a better understanding of the scientific basis for PLC identification tools used in each jurisdiction.

NICNAS attended 24 teleconferences of the OECD New Chemicals Taskforce and its steering groups during the year, and additional teleconferences were attended for specific chemicals being assessed under the Parallel Process.

NICNASs Hana Hamdan (left) and Bob Graf (seated second from right) at OECD Polymers Expert Group meeting, 6-8 March 2007