Database Offers World View Of Chemical Risk Assessment

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has developed an open database of chemical-accident risk-assessment data based on information from around the world. "Many differences in methodologies and use of terms exist across and even within countries, which lead[s] to confusion and difficulties in sharing experience in this field," the Paris-based government-member group says. "This new computer-based system will help to overcome this problem and facilitate better communication." The Chemical Accident Risk Assessment Thesaurus (CARAT) provides a way to compare risk assessment approaches from chemical plants and companies as followed in various countries. It is based on four elements that describe risk assessment: hazard identification, release/exposure scenario, hazard/subject reaction, and response. It is searchable and includes laws, regulations, definitions, and policies related to risk assessment in the context of chemical-accident prevention, preparedness, and response. The database, open to the public, was developed by a multi-country group led by the U.S., working with the University of Pennsylvania's The Wharton School and the U.S. EPA. The Netherlands manages the system.

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