Effective Support: European Biocides Information Network
As a non-profit network initiative in cooperation with the Austrian Ministry for Environment, the "European biocides information network" has been developed to serve industry, small and medium enterprises and authorities. The network intends to be continuously enlarged and updated. It is a time-saving one-stop-shop platform with pre-selected and commented hyperlinks, articles and documents. CHEManager Europe talked to Robert Feierl, Managing Director of the platform.
CHEManager Europe: What are the reasons behind this initiative?
R. Feierl: In light of increasing authorization and mutual recognition activities for biocidal products, information of any kind supporting the procedures or giving an overview on where to find e.g. emission scenario documents or test houses that conduct efficacy tests, is of great value to the companies dealing with these issues. The changes the European biocidal products legal framework is facing are of high relevance to daily business and advance information on the main aspects and consequences are helpful and necessary to plan activities of companies and authorities. Time-saving structures and knowing where to find information easily is crucial.
Was there no information available before?
R. Feierl: Several organizations of course already had information available on the web. But this was not easily accessible and sometimes crucial official information was delayed for months due to technical or other processes.
What is the concept of this network project?
R. Feierl: The "European biocides information network" - a non-profit network initiative in cooperation with the Austrian Ministry for Environment and several others - has been developed to serve industry, small and medium enterprises as well as authorities.
It intends to be continuously extended, updated and reviewed on a regular basis in order to perform as a time saving one-stop-shop platform with pre-selected and commented hyperlinks, articles and documents. We concentrate on making information available easily and quickly via the network but also to try and structure and summarize the content to enable an easier orientation.
Is the use of this service free?
R. Feierl: After shaping and solving some technical details the network was ready to be launched in March 2008 for a limited group of users, who - at that time - had to pay for the service. This approach was helpful for us as it forced us to reach a high quality level of information. The positive feedback in the first year of operation and a lot of comments from authorities and industry encouraged us to further develop the system and find ways to enable free access to all interested parties worldwide. Thanks to the commitments of the supporting sponsors of this project like SCC, Technidata or the Austrian Economic Chamber, we were able to reach this goal and since May 2009 access to the network has been free. Nevertheless, due to safety and data protection reasons, you have to follow a step-wise and monitored registration procedure to get free password-protected access to this source of information.
Could you summarize what kind of information the network covers?
R. Feierl: The European biocides information network covers background, guidance and information on current and upcoming issues concerning biocides under the EU regime; information about member states, contact details of the relevant competent authorities, poison information centers as well as relevant and publicly available regulatory inventories and sources of electronically available legal texts; contributions from authorities and industry experts aiming at a European-wide harmonized understanding and handling of biocides regulations; clarification on specific scope issues; a collection of links to specific test-houses; a directory of specialized consultants with some facts and figures; information and links to scientific journals, as well as books of relevance to the biocidal scientific and regulatory world; a collection of helpful and publicly available databases; highlights and information of international organizations with relevant impact on the biocides regime in Europe such as OECD and UN; and also news and facts on meetings and trainings related to the biocides scientific and regulatory world.
How can you guarantee the high quality of the provided information?
R. Feierl: An advisory committee, the members of which are all experts in the field of biocidal regulatory and scientific issues, advises and controls the input thereby ensuring the quality and high level of information and continuous development of this network. We have regular meetings, conference calls and of course once a year we have the possibility to exchange facts and information at our annual event, the multinational conference on legal issues and trade aspects of biocidal products, "biocides 2009" which this year will take place in Vienna, Nov. 23 - 24, with an accompanying workshop on product authorization on Nov. 25.