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Risk Transformation: a new era for chemicals regulation in the United States and Europe?

Dr Arthur Daemmrich
Chemical Heritage Foundation
Email: ArthurD@chemheritage.org|

Date: 15 February 2005
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
: CARR Seminar Room, H615


In the past decade, environmental risk management has undergone significant transformations in the United States and Europe. Regulation of the risks posed by chemicals and their manufacturing sites has shifted from a focus on emissions to products, and from surveying the environment for known toxins to mapping the 'body burdens' posed by uncharacterized compounds. Based on case studies of the high production volume (HPV) testing program and biomonitoring research, this talk argues that changes in the relationship among the chemical industry, environmental NGOs, and government regulators were instrumental to these shifts. As a consequence of increasingly collaborative frameworks in the United States, the ways in which risks are identified, defined and managed have undergone a transition from command-and-control regulation to a more collaborative model. In Europe, on the other hand, the program for registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals (REACH) is evidence of an emerging regulatory state that is replacing historically collaborative approaches with centralized controls and oversight. The talk concludes with observations on the future of international regulatory harmonization and an assessment of the increasing role played by environmental groups in both the United States and Europe.