India took another step towards quality parity with international standards in the realm of non-clinical chemicals manufacturing when it joined the system for the Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD) in the Assessment of Chemicals, a multilateral agreement supported by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Its decision to join the OECD pact this week makes India the third key emerging economy to get on board the platform for ensuring that the results of its non-clinical chemical safety testing will be accepted in all other participating countries, the OECD said in a statement.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “India's engagement in OECD's work on chemical safety and its membership in our MAD system is indicative of the mutual benefit of the ever-closer relationship between OECD and major emerging economies.”

He said the MAD system saved governments and chemical producers around €150 million every year by allowing the results of a variety of non-clinical safety tests done on chemicals and chemical products, such as industrial chemicals and pesticides, to be shared across OECD and other countries that adhere to the system. Under the system it would be mandatory for testing to be carried out using OECD standards for test methods and for data quality and governments would have to verify compliance of laboratories by using the OECD-agreed procedures. These procedures would now apply to India, as they do to all OECD countries and also emerging markets in South Africa and Singapore.

In most cases the rules for testing and quality have been implemented via the appropriate legislative and administrative procedures, the OECD said, highlighting the benefits that would arise from the MAD system through the removal of a potential non-tariff trade barrier between countries for marketing chemicals.

Ensuring that OECD and partner countries share and trust each other's chemical safety test data would also open the possibility for producers in OECD countries to have safety tests for their chemicals undertaken in adhering partner economies, officials said, noting that “provisional adherents to the MAD system are currently Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand.”

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