An audit by European Union (EU) authorities has found fault with the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA’s) handling of potential conflicts of interest. According to a European Court of Auditors report, “ECHA has an important regulatory role in implementing the EU’s chemicals legislation for the benefit of human health and the environment as well as for innovation and competitiveness. ECHA . . . performs [chemical] labeling and classification and addresses chemicals of high concern.” ECHA has also established a Board of Appeals to hear appeals of the agency’s decisions on safety, labeling and other requirements for use of chemicals within the EU.
The European Court of Auditors noted, however, that although ECHA “has developed Agency-specific policy and procedures for management of conflict of interest, the policy and procedures for ECHA’s staff and Board of Appeal have significant shortcomings.” In particular, the report found the agency’s policies unable to ensure that Board of Appeal members do not have conflicts of interest in connection with the issues adjudicated. The audit calls for increased systematic and transparent conflict-of-interest procedures.