Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol.142, No.3, 592-602, 2007
Integrating process safety with molecular modeling-based risk assessment of chemicals within the REACH regulatory framework: Benefits and future challenges
Registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals (REACH) represents a recent regulatory initiative by the European union commission to protect human health and the environment from potentially hazardous chemicals. Under REACH, all stakeholders must submit (thermo)physical, thermochemical, and toxicological data for certain chemicals. The commission's impact assessment studies estimate that the costs of REACH will be approximately 3-5 billion Euros. The present study advocates the systematic incorporation of computational chemistry and computer-assisted chemical risk assessment methods into REACH to reduce regulatory compliance costs. Currently powerful computer-aided ab initio techniques can be used to generate predictions of key properties of broad classes of chemicals, without resorting to costly experimentation and potentially hazardous testing. These data could be integrated into a centralized IT decision and compliance support system, and stored in a retrievable, easily communicable manner should new regulatory and/or production requirements necessitate the introduction of different uses of chemicals under different conditions. For illustration purposes, ab initio calculations are performed on heterocyclic nitrogen-containing compounds which currently serve as high energy density materials in the chemical industry. Since investigations of these compounds are still in their infancy, stability studies are imperative regarding their safe handling and storage, as well as registration under REACH. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.