Consumer Safety and Health Network Workshop Explores Cross-Border Risk Assessment

28 July 2014

Consumer product safety regulators from 19 countries met in Washington, DC last week to collaborate and share information on risk assessment practices at a workshop hosted by the Consumer Safety and Health Network (CSHN), an organization coordinated by the Organization of American States (OAS) with the support of the Pan American Health Organization.

The week-long forum (July 21-25) brought together 30 regulators from the Americas, as well as representatives from Spain and Portugal, who together make up the OAS regulator network. Throughout the event, participants discussed: 1) terminology, concepts and approach to risk assessment, in order to develop a common understanding of “risk,” and 2) the development of an Inter-Americas Rapid Alert System for sharing product safety information across borders.

The U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA) participated in the three-day risk assessment portion of the workshop, held July 21-23. TIA staff members were the only non-regulators invited to take part in the forum; they provided regulators with an overview of how risk assessment is used and approached by the toy industry. TIA also gave the group practical recommendations to consider in their development of the Inter-Americas Rapid Alert System during the remaining two days of the workshop (July 24-25), open to regulators only.

The CSHN is the first Inter-American effort to contribute to the development and consolidation of national and regional systems designed to enhance product safety. The Network is a tool that provides easy access to relevant information on products deemed unsafe by markets from different parts of the world, serves to educate the public, and helps train officials on the safety of consumer products.

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