ECHA releases new tools to overhaul how businesses submit information to poison centres

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published a suite of IT tools for businesses to build systems to notify information on hazardous mixtures to appointed bodies and poison centres.
 
The upcoming harmonised poison centre notification (PCN) format aims to ensure that information on hazardous mixtures is readily available to medical professionals in the event of a poisoning, and that this information is provided in a consistent and practical way.

The PCN format is expected to be rolled out officially in late 2019 to coincide with the implementation of Annex VIII to CLP. Until then, businesses with mixtures classified for their health or physical effect on the market in Europe are obliged to notify their products through processes which are defined at the Member State level and which vary from country to country.
 
Notification can be carried out on their behalf by a third party, such as the National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC), which can help to reduce the administrative burden and risk of non-compliance associated with notification. Submissions made ahead of the 2020 deadline will remain valid until 2025, assuming no change is made to the product that would trigger an update, such as change to the product identifier or overall classification.

The new format will require businesses to develop a PCN dossier, available as a series of XML schema definition files, which will be compatible with IUCLID. ECHA has made these files freely available and has launched a guide for industry on how to develop an IT solution for the dossier that is compliant with the PCN format.
 
Businesses can access these from the ECHA website, or contact NCEC for guidance on either building a functioning, in-house PCN system or outsourcing notification to an organisation that does. NCEC undertakes poison centre notification on behalf of some of the world’s largest chemical companies and is developing a PCN tool to submit bulk notifications to EU appointed bodies. 
 
Larissa Silver, NCEC poison centre product manager, said of the announcement “With the launch of the PCN format, ECHA has taken another step towards harmonising the notification process across Europe and ensuring medical professionals have the information required to respond effectively during poisonings from hazardous mixtures. However, it is important to note that businesses should not wait for the PCN format to be incorporated by Member States. If you have mixtures classified for their health or physical effect on the market in Europe then these need to be notified with the relevant appointed bodies as soon as possible to ensure this information is available and to avoid non-compliance.”
 
NCEC is the leading provider of poison centre notification services and is one the few organisations that continually document and update industry on notification procedures for all EU Member States. In addition to carrying out notification on behalf of chemical manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, NCEC also provides a range of free resources to help industry better understand the requirements under article 45 of CLP, including free webinars and information packs available from the NCEC website.
 
Visit our poison centre home page to find out more about NCEC’s poison centre services. Or to discuss your poison centre requirements and what the PCN format could mean for your business in more detail, contact poisoncentres@ricardo.com.