Original Press Release
Action and Reaction Conference Seeks Solutions to Rising Tide of Chemical Controls on U.S. Industry
Press release date: August 13, 2007
On August 9-10, 2007, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) convened a two-day conference in Baltimore, Maryland, entitled Action and Reaction: Developing a sustainable approach to emerging chemical issues. The event brought together nearly 120 representatives from the public and private sectors to address the rising tide of chemical controls and regulations on U.S. industry while balancing activities that promote health, safety, and quality of life.
A follow up to a September 2006 event at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the highly interactive conference engaged participants in solutions-focused discussions on chemical controls and regulatory programs including REACH, RoHS, WEEE, SAICM, and GHS.
"The cost of dealing with multiple chemical regulation and control requirements goes far beyond the chemical industry itself," said Dr. Nina McClelland, conference chair and principal of Nina I. McClelland LLC, in her opening remarks. "I am delighted with the diversity of participants represented here today-suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, standards developers, academics, regulators, and more. One fact is crystal clear: the ongoing and active engagement of all key stakeholder groups is essential to developing proactive solutions to these issues."
A summary review of all action items and associated timelines is currently being developed and will be available soon. Visit www.ansi.org/action-reaction to review and download the conference proceedings, presentations, and final breakout session reports.
Experts from industry, government and the international community shared their perspectives on "green" chemistry issues, chemical controls, and the effect of chemical regulations on producers and users in the global marketplace. In particular, attendees shared two primary concerns:
There is no one size fits all approach to managing chemical issues. There is a need for a collaborative network that functions across sectors and national borders.
Keynote speaker Dr. John Marburger, director of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, stressed the importance of early involvement, emphasizing the need for strategic, global information-sharing networks to keep companies informed.
Attendees also recognized that varying definitions of key terms (e.g., "toxic") are causing confusion across sectors. Further, U.S. manufacturers and their supply chain partners are being forced to respond to multiple complex requests to gather and verify data that has not been required in the past. Participants pointed to the need for the consistent communication of information up and down the supply chain, confirming the need to balance industry needs and regulations with mounting environmental, health, safety (EHS), and consumer concerns. Attendees also suggested that existing or new standards and testing methodologies could be used to support compliance with any given regulation.
Participants called for improved cross-industry communication, enhanced private and public-sector collaboration, and the development of proactive approaches to addressing immediate (e.g., REACH implementation) and long term concerns (e.g., future product life cycle and supply chain restrictions).