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Linkages Page on the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS)
INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON RISK ASSESSMENT OF METALS AND THEIR INORGANIC COMPOUNDS: This workshop was held in Angers, France, 13-15 November 1996. Over 70 individuals from 15 countries participated in the workshop, which was organized by the International Council on Metals and the Environment (ICME), the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), Health Canada, the Australian Department of Health and the Chilean National Commission on the Environment (CONAMA). The objectives of the workshop were to identify the key issues and to develop a common understanding of the path forward in risk assessment methodologies for metals. The workshop resulted in recommendations that state, inter alia, the development IPCS and OECD of an ad hoc advisory group to advise OECD and IPCS on the feasibility of establishing a permanent international working group to coordinate research, testing strategies and methodological developments related to the risk assessment of metals and their compounds.  The workshop also recommended: establishment of an interdisciplinary expert group for the development of an Environmental Health Criteria document (EHC) for ecological risk assessment; establishment of an informal information exchange network between academia, industry and governmental agencies to advance the understanding of the characteristics of metals; demonstration of the need for a consortium fund by interested organizations to support methodology development, testing and research in the field of metal speciation, metal complexation and environmental background levels and habitat conditions. For more information contact ICME, 294 Albert Street, Suite 506, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 6E6; tel: +1 (613) 235- 4263; fax: +1 (613) 233-2865;  e-mail: .    
PRIOR INFORMED CONSENT (PIC): The second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument for the Application of the PIC Procedure (INC-2) met from 16-20 September 1996 at UNEP, which set the stage for a global convention on the trade in dangerous chemicals and pesticides next year. Through the voluntary PIC procedure, importing countries can learn about dangerous and toxic chemicals and pesticides that may be shipped to them and decide whether they will permit or ban future imports. Exporting countries are notified which products importing countries no longer want to receive and can help ensure that illegal exports do not occur. The procedure is jointly handled by UNEP and the FAO. Efforts by UNEP and FAO to promote chemical safety were initially based on the 1985 International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides and the 1987 London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade. These two voluntary systems encourage Governments to share information and to shift to ecologically sustainable chemicals management. As some pesticides and other chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in certain developed countries are still widely used elsewhere, particularly in developing countries, the governing bodies of UNEP and FAO introduced the voluntary “Prior Informed Consent” procedure (PIC) in 1989. As of July 1996, some 145 countries are participat-ing in the PIC procedure. For more information, please contact: Michael Williams, UNEP Geneva, tel +(41 22) 979-9242; fax +(41 22) 797-3464; or Jim Sniffen, UNEP New York, tel +1 (212) 963 8094; fax +1 (212) 963 734; e-mail Also try