House Bill Reauthorizes CFATS Security Program

On January 9, the House passed a fast-track legislation to extend the US Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) for two years. CFATS was scheduled to expire this month.

The CFATS program is designed to ensure that facilities that utilize, store and distribute chemicals have security measures in place to reduce the risk of certain hazardous chemicals from being exploited in an attack. Under CFATS, DHS requires facilities determined to be high-risk to develop, implement and report one of two types of security plans: a Site Security Plan (SSP) or an Alternative Security Program (ASP).

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Reported by Helen Gillespie,

US EPA Appoints Alexandra Dunn to Chemical Safety Office


The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) has a new director: Alexandra Dunn. Nominated by President Donald J. Trump to serve as assistant administrator last Fall, Ms. Dunn previously served as regional administrator for EPA’s Region 1 office in Boston, MA, as was endorsed by both environmental groups and the chemical industry. Her appointment was confirmed by the Senate on January 2.

Prior to joining EPA, Ms. Dunn served as executive director and general counsel for the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to helping state agencies improve environment outcomes for Americans. While at ECOS, Ms. Dunn helped state governments improve water infrastructure, reduce air pollution, clean up contaminated sites, manage chemical safety, and enhance economic development. Before joining ECOS, Ms. Dunn was executive director and general counsel for the Association of Clean Water Administrators.

Ms. Dunn has also been published in the areas of the ethics of community advocacy, environmental justice, urban sustainability, water quality, cooperative federalism, and the Clean Water Act. Previously, she taught environmental justice and human rights and the environment as dean of Environmental Law Programs at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She also taught at Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, where she served as faculty advisor to the student Environmental Law Society. Ms. Dunn most recently taught environmental justice as an adjunct associate professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Last year, Ms. Dunn was elected to the Board of Regents of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and she served on the executive committee and board of directors of the Environmental Law Institute. She has chaired the American Bar Association’s (ABA) section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, as well as its World Justice Task Force, and she served on the ABA Presidential Task Force on Sustainable Development.

Reported by Helen Gillespie,

Helsinki Chemicals Forum Announces Themes for 2019

HCF brochure image

Stakeholders connected with the global chemicals industry will gather in Helsinki, Finland on 23-24 May this year to attend the 11th annual Helsinki Chemicals Forum (HCF).

This year’s HCF will cover five themes: risk management options for chemicals of concern, the grouping of chemical substances, measuring the performance of different chemical management systems, plastics and circularity, and the quality of and access to data on chemicals.

A key gathering for chemicals safety professionals, HCF promotes chemicals safety and chemicals management globally. The two-day event is built around high-profile panels and keynote presentations as well as related debates. It is organized by the Chemicals Forum Association in co-operation with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Commission, the European chemicals and metals industry, Associations CEFIC and Eurometaux, the City of Helsinki, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland and the University of Helsinki. The event is held at at Messukeskus Helsinki (Helsinki Convention Centre).

This year, Jan Vapaavuori, the mayor of Helsinki, will open the forum. He will be joined by Bjorn Hansen, executive director of ECHA and Daniel Calleja, director general for environment with the European Commission, in presenting keynote speeches.

Panel 1 will explore the pros and cons of various risk management options currently being used by authorities around the world to regulate substances of very high concern. Panel moderator will be Otto Linher, the deputy head of the EU’s REACH Unit.

Regulators and stakeholders have expressed growing interest in grouping similar chemicals in order to speed up risk assessment and management and to prevent inadvertently substituting one problem chemical with another. But there is no consistency in the way groupings are carried out globally. This will be the theme of panel 2, moderated by science editor Andrew Turley from Chemical Watch Magazine.

How to measure the performance of different chemical management systems in different parts of the world will be the focus of panel 3. Panelists will probe what are meaningful indicators for measuring success, the cost of action or inaction, and how to assess value for money of the different regulatory systems, among other questions. The panel will be moderated by Eeva Leinala, principal administrator with the OECD.

The global hot topic of plastics and circularity will be discussed the panel 4. The panelists will be drawn from various sides of the debate – plastics production, policy makers, users of plastics, and the Civil Society Organization representing advocacy. Moderator will be Jakob Duer, chemicals and health branch chief from the UN Environment.

Panel 5 will deal with the quality of and access to data on chemicals. The amount of data being generated on chemical substances keeps rising, although the quality of the data is of varying or unknown quality. This creates challenges relating to competing demands for this data, from actors with competing interests. The discussion will be moderated by Hugo Waeterschoot from Eurometaux.

On the afternoon of Saturday 25 May, HCF will organize a visit to the Fortum Waste Solutions plant in Riihimäki, which is one of Europe’s most advanced recycling facilities.

A detailed program will be available at in January 2019.

Two related events are also taking place in Helsinki before and after HCF. On 21-22 May, ECHA will host REACH/CLP Stakeholder Days at its offices in Helsinki. And on 26-30 May, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry SETAC will hold its annual conference at Messukeskus Helsinki. Participants to those events will be encouraged to join all or part of the HCF and vice-versa.

Reported by Leslie Burt, Chemical Matters