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Policy

EU Will Stop Vetting Data For Confidentiality

by Cheryl Hogue
October 25, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 43

Starting on Dec. 1, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will make companies' data public without checking for confidential business information. Currently, ECHA consults with companies to ensure that proprietary data aren't included in the part of their submissions that the agency subsequently posts on the Internet. Businesses are providing this information to ECHA under the European Union's program for the registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals. Those submissions, called dossiers, may include trade secrets that the agency withholds from public disclosure. In the past few months, ECHA has issued manuals and software that allow companies to prepare dossiers that the agency can automatically post on the Internet without revealing proprietary information. "With the availability of appropriate tools to prevent this type of mistake, ECHA no longer sees a need for these contacts" with companies to check for confidential data, the agency says. This change will allow the public to gain access to chemical information more rapidly, it adds.

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