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Medichem Newsletter November 20003

Andreas Flückiger explained additional points raised by the Board on Sept. 27th: Recruitment of members needs to be stated specifically as one of the responsibilities of the NR's. Establishing firm links between Medichem and the national organisations of occupational health professionals was considered important. With a clear role definition for the NR's in hand, one might be able to approach some these professional organisations and invite them to nominate a Medichem representative from their country. It was also mentioned that the NR's themselves might be in the best position to make proposals to the Board as to what they feel their role should be, as to what activities are realistically possible and as to which ones might be the most effective. Participants of the General Assembly added in the discussion that communication channels specifically for and among the NR's might be useful and that it might also be beneficial to ask for a certain degree of accountability of the NR's for their activities. Noel Humphry and Andreas Flückiger will this give feed-back to Ted Smith including the encouragement to go ahead with the Prague NR meeting.

Agenda Item 9: Medichem's definition (Art. 1, Art. 3/Section 1 and Art. 4/Section 1 of the Constitution)

The General Assembly agreed to modify the main focus of activity of Medichem from dealing with (any) occupational health matters arising in the chemical industry to dealing with occupational health issues arising from any work involving the handling of chemicals. This should make it more clear to the outside where

Medichem's expertise lies and might also attract members not working directly in or with the chemical industry. This does not preclude Medichem from dealing with other matters if their are of particular relevance at workplaces where chemicals are handled, but these other matters should not be the main focus of the organisation. The inclusion of environmental health remains unchanged. As far as the relationship with ICOH is concerned, there will be no change and the Medichem Board will continue to be the Scientific Committee for Occupational Health in the Chemical Industry.

After a short discussion and minor amendments of the new wording originally proposed by the Board, the General Assembly unanimously decided the following changes to the Medichem Constitution: In Art. 1, replace the term "chemical industry" by "production and use of chemicals". Delete the sentence "Chemical Industry should be understood..... pharmaceutical industries." In Art. 3/Section1 replace the term "those chemical industry issues" by "those health issues related to the production and use of chemicals" and in Art. 4/Section 1: replace "... with an interest in occupational health in the chemical industry are eligible for membership" by "... with an interest in occupational and environmental health are eligible for membership". The amended Constitution will be distributed to all members along with the November 2000 update of the Handbook.

Agenda Item 10: Position Papers

Les Yee is the Board member who has the lead in this matter. He has already prepared a demo internet page which will soon be added to Medichem's internet site (cf. Item 14; www.medichem.org.au). At first, the proposal will only contain links to existing good quality position papers of general interest to Medichem members or papers that might be proposed to Medichem for formal endorsement. There are not yet any position papers written by or for Medichem, but Les Yee has made contacts and has identified both issues and interested partners (including other ICOH SC's) to progress the development of new papers. As ICOH as a whole is also interested in the production of position papers, Medichem's work in this field will be appropriately co-ordinated with ICOH. All members are asked to send any feed-back or comments on the position paper issue to Les Yee (yee.lm@pg.com).

Agenda Item 11: Concluding report on the Vienna Conference

The proceedings of the Vienna congress were published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health (IAOEH) in July 2000, i.e. in record time. Financially, the Vienna congress ended with balanced books, i.e. with a surplus that was sufficient to cover the congress' share of the cost of the proceedings. Hugo Ruediger pointed out that some presentations were handed in too late and were therefore not considered for publication. Three other papers were moved to normal issues of the IAOEH for reasons of limiting the cost of the proceedings volume and because they had been accepted

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