Echa Regulation should allow use of external experts, industry urges

2022-10-13

The European Commission’s proposal for a new standalone Regulation to redefine Echa’s financing and operating model should support the use of external experts to account for the agency’s increasing mandate, industry groups have said.

Echa’s committees, such as those for risk assessment (Rac), socio-economic analysis (Seac) and the member state committee (MSC), have a “very high workload” that is set to increase further under the EU’s chemicals strategy for sustainability (CSS), Cefic and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said in response to a Commission consultation on the proposal.

Cefic said the diversity and complexity of tasks the committees must cover has increased over the years, requiring a broad range of expertise. The Regulation should therefore “facilitate the use of external expertise” to support them, particularly the Rac. For example, support could be provided on the use of epidemiological and exposure data, mechanism of action and the assessment of mobility or endocrine disruption.

Such topics could involve external experts on a “need to have” basis, independent of their affiliation, it said.

“This way of working could be institutionalised by allowing temporary project-related appointments of committee members with expertise in a specific area, complementing the current appointment of committee members nominated by member states,” Cefic added.

The ACC echoed the call, saying a basic regulation should afford Echa the flexibility to appoint experts needed to support committees, such as external experts temporarily appointed to address a specific area.

‘Reliable, relevant expertise’

Metals trade association Eurometaux added that Echa committees often proceed without adequate expertise, which is not “fit for purpose”.

“Access to representative, reliable and relevant expertise is key for the efficient performance of any assessment task,” it said.

Experts with current or former industry connections are often excluded based on a “default assumption of conflict of interest”, Eurometaux added.

Industry experts should be given a comparable level of recognition during the identification and selection of experts as the ones from authorities/academic institutions, it added.

Fees

The new Regulation will also set up a sustainable financial framework for Echa. According to the Commission, this budget could be supported by new revenue sources, “such as new fee types on certain operations related to the manufacturing, import or use of chemicals, reflecting the work carried out by Echa.”

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Chemical Watch, 13-10-22
; https://chemicalwatch.com/585085/echa-regulation-should-allow-use-of-external-experts-industry-urges