Helsinki Chemicals Forum has published its themes for 2019


The themes for the next Helsinki Chemicals Forum conference will cover five themes: risk management options of chemicals of concern, the grouping of chemical substances, measuring the performance of different chemical management systems, plastics and circularity and the quality of and access to data on chemicals. The next conference will be organised on 23–24 May 2019 in Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre.

Helsinki Chemicals Forum is a key gathering for chemicals safety professionals, and an independent forum that aims to promote chemicals safety and chemicals management globally. The two-day event is built around high-profile panels and keynote presentations as well as related debates. Mr Jan Vapaavuori, the Mayor of Helsinki, will open the Forum. On Thursday, Mr Bjorn Hansen, Executive Director, ECHA and Mr Daniel Calleja, Director General of the DG Environment, European Commission will hold the keynote speeches.

Five panel themes selected for their global relevance and topicality

Panel 1 will explore the possibilities to choose the best possible risk management option to regulate substances of very high concern. The EU is using a mix of different instruments - authorisation, restriction, and occupational exposure limits – to reduce risks of chemicals of concern. In the panel the method to derive the most suitable option and the pros and cons for each of them are discussed. The panel also clarifies how do other regulatory authorities manage unacceptable risks of such chemicals. The moderator of this panel will be Mr Otto Linher, the Deputy Head of REACH Unit of the European Commission.

Regulators and stakeholders have expressed growing interest in grouping ‘similar chemicals’ in order to speed up risk assessment and management and prevent inadvertently substituting one problem chemical with another. But there is no consistency in the way grouping is carried out globally. Therefore, grouping of chemical substances and how to avoid regrettable substitution will be the theme in panel 2, moderated by science editor Andrew Turley from Chemical Watch Magazine.

Panel 3 converses on how to measure the performance of different chemical management systems in different parts of the world. The relevant questions discussed will be, for example, what are meaningful indicators to measure success, do different stakeholders measure success differently, what needs to be measured over time, what is the cost of action or inaction and how to assess value for money of the different regulatory systems. The panel will be moderated Ms Eeva Leinala, Principal Administrator of the OECD.

There are many facts of the plastics agenda and the best way to achieve circularity goes well beyond the plastic pollution in oceans and rivers. The global hot topic of plastics and circularity will be discussed the panel 4. By enforcing existing standards and getting countries to adopt and implement policies on waste collection at urban and industrial sites coupled with providing incentives for industries to generate revenue from the waste. New technologies can produce hydrocarbon plastic feedstock which can re-enter the value chain. The panelists will represent plastics production, policy makers, users of plastics, and the Civil Society Organization representing advocacy. As a moderator will be seen Mr Jakob Duer, Chemicals and Health Branch Chief from the UN Environment.

Panel 5 deals with the quality of and access to data on chemicals. The amount of data being available on chemical substance in commerce is continuously rising, even though the quality of the data is of varying or unknown quality. This creates challenges relating to competing demands for this data, from actors with competing interests. The situation also creates important challenges to handle that vast amount of data in terms of format/IT, reliability, analysis and subsequent actions. How to ensure that relevant actors have access to the data they need of the right quality and that this data is adequately acted upon to limit the environmental and human health impacts of substances on the market? This will be discussed with advisor Hugo Waeterschoot from Eurometaux as moderator.

On the afternoon of Saturday 25 May, Helsinki Chemicals Forum will organise a visit to the Fortum Waste Solutions plant in Riihimäki, which is one of Europe's most advanced recycling facilities.

The whole programme will available at in January 2019.

Two linked events for chemicals professionals in Helsinki

There are also two linked events in Helsinki before and after the Helsinki Chemicals Forum. In 21-22 May, ECHA will hold its REACH/CLP Stakeholder Days in the ECHA premises in Helsinki. And right after the Helsinki Chemicals Forum, in 26-30 May, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry SETAC will hold its annual conference at Messukeskus Helsinki. Participants to those events will be encouraged to join all or part of the Helsinki Chemicals Conference and vice-versa.

The Helsinki Chemicals Forum is organised by the Chemicals Forum Association in co-operation with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Commission, The European chemicals and metals industry Associations CEFIC and Eurometaux, the City of Helsinki, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland and the University of Helsinki. The event will be held for the 11th time at Messukeskus, Helsinki from 23 to 24 May 2019.

Twitter: @ChemicalsForum

Photos and logo of the event for free use:



Geert Dancet, Secretary General, tel.: +32 468 300787,
Tarja Gordienko, Communications Manager, tel.: +358 50 584 7262,


Helsinki Chemicals Forum is a key gathering for chemicals safety professionals.
Helsinki Chemicals Forum is a key gathering for chemicals safety professionals.
Geert Dancet is the Secretary General of the Helsinki Chemicals Forum.
Geert Dancet is the Secretary General of the Helsinki Chemicals Forum.

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