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An international program that has generated more than 1,000 hazard assessments of high-production-volume chemicals since the 1990s will be replaced by the end of 2014 because its participating countries have decided it no longer fits their priorities, the head of the program told BNA June 21.


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Cooperative Chemicals Assessment Program (CoCAP) has since the 1990s been the world’s only source of internationally agreed hazard assessments for chemicals produced in large amounts, according to Bob Diderich, head of OECD’s Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Division.


Diderich told BNA in May that the program’s functions had largely been taken over by the European Union’s REACH program and by U.S.-based research activities (37 CRR 571, 5/13/13).


At a June 11-13 joint meeting, OECD’s Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides, and Biotechnology decided that recent legislative changes in many OECD countries mean “there is less value in [the CoCAP’s] cooperative work for assessing as many chemicals as possible.”


The OECD Task Force on Hazard Assessment will begin “brainstorming” to develop the new program at a June 25-26 meeting. The Chemicals Committee and Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides, and Biotechnology will decide on details and a name for the new program at their next joint meeting in February 2014, he said.


Prior to the joint meeting, EU and U.S. industry and government officials suggested the CoCAP had outlived its usefulness, in large part because the European Union’s REACH regime (Regulation No. 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals) has usurped CoCAP’s role in Europe, but also due to changes in chemical hazard assessment in the United States and elsewhere.


The new program will look at novel methods for assessing chemical hazards. “The idea is to use new methods for testing and for predicting properties of chemicals, but somehow keep the advantage of assessing real cases and real chemicals,” Diderich said.


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