SOCMA Adopts IST Policy

April 5, 2007
Patricia Van Arnum
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Washington, DC (Apr. 3)-The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA) adopted a policy on Inherently Safer Technology (IST) at its March meeting.

Washington, DC (Apr. 3)-The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA, www.socma.org) adopted a policy of Inherently Safer Technology (IST) at its March meeting. SOCMA is the US-based trade association representing custom and batch manufacturers, including contract manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates supplying the pharmaceutical industry.

The goal of IST is to use traditional engineering, chemistry, and other scientific concepts to reduce the risk associated with chemical processing. SOCMA approved its policy to state its support for the philosophy of IST and “the belief that it should not be mandated in any regulatory regime,” said SOCMA in a prepared statement.

In issuing its policy position, SOCMA said that no federal mandate of IST exists in the US Department of Homeland Security’s April 2007 interim final rule on chemical-site security. “While the concepts of IST are not appropriate in a regulatory context, the US Department of Homeland Security should encourage the private sector to incorporate IST as a means to reduce security risks at chemical facilities wherever possible,” said SOCMA.

In explaining its position of IST, SOCMA said that IST does not necessarily involve reducing the amount of hazardous chemicals used in manufacturing and processing. “IST is a conceptual framework that covers chemical-processing procedures, equipment protection, and, when feasible, the use of safer substances. Many non-scientists have been led to believe that the only road to inherent safety is by way of reducing the amount of hazardous chemicals used in manufacturing and processing. IST, however, is limited by the laws of physics: a simple reduction in the use of hazardous chemicals is often not possible or may only result in the redistribution of risk without actually reducing it.”