OECD Portal Improves Access to Information on Chemical Properties, Exposure

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By International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), February 11, 2020

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has updated its Global Portal to Information on Chemical Substances (eChemPortal). The Portal increases access to information for all stakeholders, providing data to support health and environment decisions concerning chemicals.

The eChemPortal:

  • provides free access to information on existing chemicals, new industrial chemicals, pesticides and biocides;
  • enables quick and efficient use and exchange of such information;
  • details chemicals’ exposure and use information; and
  • includes links to information prepared for government chemical programmes at the national, regional and international levels.

It also provides classification results according to hazard classification schemes, such as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The latest version – eChemPortal v3.0 – has an updated user interface and design. It enables users to search for chemical information through a quick search function, filter and sort on results tables, and get a preliminary indication of the number of results expected in a search by chemical properties.

By the end of 2020, it is expected that: all information needed to assess risks of chemicals to human health and the environment will be linked or directly included in eChemPortal; all relevant data sources freely available through the internet will be linked through the eChemPortal; and a commitment to reliable chemical identification will continue to facilitate efficient searches through user-friendly entry points. OECD plans to achieve this by: bringing information sources and data formats into a uniform presentation format; raising the awareness of relevant audiences about the Portal; and eliminating duplication of work across national and regional assessment programmes.

eChemPortal was launched by the OECD in 2007, initially focusing on hazard information for existing chemicals. It enabled users to search for substances by name or identification number. In 2010, the Portal was redesigned to enable searches also by chemical property. In 2015, another search tool was included to enable users searching for an individual chemical to view GHS classifications that have been reviewed by a regulatory body or intergovernmental organization, and direct links to information in participating data sources were added.

eChemPortal was implemented using the common electronic data formats prescribed by the OECD Harmonised Templates for Reporting Chemical Test Summaries, which were designed to create a consistent way of reporting information across regulatory programmes. eChemPortal contributes to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), particularly its recommendation to “facilitate public access to appropriate information and knowledge of chemicals throughout their life cycle.” [eChemPortal Vision Statement] [eChemPortal Website] [eChemPortal brochure]