From clothing and cars to all types of furniture, the design of a product often involves the use of chemicals or nanomaterials of various compositions. Although their circulation on the international market seems to be commonplace, they are nevertheless subject to well-defined tests and regulations that guarantee their safety from a health and environmental point of view.
Appointed by the Luxembourg Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, LIST researchers are preparing to take up these challenges within the framework of three working parties of the Chemicals and Biotechnology Committee at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Alongside international specialists, LIST experts will use their strong expertise to promote the recognition and sharing of tests, standards, best practices, and environmental regulations at an international scale.
This global distinction recognises the regulatory, scientific, and technical skills of LIST researchers in the management of the hazards, exposure and risks of chemical products, or any other product of concern. For many years, the Institute has been supporting national and European authorities, Luxembourgish companies, and RDI activities in the definition, implementation, and evaluation of environmental regulations or the compliance of entities.
"Beyond a recognition of LIST's expertise, our nomination in these OECD working parties is also a great opportunity for knowledge transfer and networking with scientists, industrials, and policy makers from all over the world", said Arno Biwer, Head of the Environmental Policies research group at LIST and one of the OECD nominees.
Nanomaterials are a rapidly growing field and one that the OECD working party joined by Tommaso Serchi, researcher, and Arno Gutleb Head of the Environmental Health research group, will be working on to ensure robust and harmonised approaches to hazards, exposure, and risks at an international level.
Harmonisation is also needed at the level of guidelines for the regulation of chemicals and hazardous products, which Arno and Tommaso are also undertaking through another working party. "Our role here is to develop guidelines for the OECD, which decides on them and on the project proposals to be included in the work plan," they detailed.
Last but not least, chemical risk management is an integral part of tasks of the working party of Arno Biwer and Ruth Moeller. Together with representatives from Japan, North America and Europe, LIST researchers will oversee and guide chemical risk management activities from the regulatory applicability point of view. "In other words, collaboration on sustainable chemistry risk management, socio-economic assessment and alternatives to harmful chemicals," concluded Arno.