Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

HEROIC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 282896
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: Switzerland

Integrating human and environmental risk assessment to improve chemical safety in the EU

An EU-funded project has shown a way forward to uniting the separate disciplines of human health and environmental risk assessment into an integrated risk assessment (IRA) approach.
Integrating human and environmental risk assessment to improve chemical safety in the EU
Though based on similar scientific approaches, assessments of human health risks and environmental risks are conventionally separate disciplines. However, the vision of a sustainable and safe use of chemicals to protect human health and preserve the environment requires innovative and integrated approaches to risk assessment (IRA) in order to better meet scientific, societal and policy needs.

With this aim in mind, the EU-funded Coordination Action HEROIC (Health and environmental risks: Organisation, integration and cross-fertilisation of scientific knowledge) project brought together nine partners from seven countries to provide stakeholders with a networking platform, easier access to data and relevant current information about joint approaches.

The project had three specific goals. It aimed to harmonise tools and methods from both fields by exploring how hazard and exposure data and models can be used across the two disciplines. HEROIC also sought to develop IRA approaches potentially applicable for all chemical classes and to facilitate understanding and cooperation among stakeholders.

Researchers began by evaluating current risk assessment practices to identify common data needs, sector-specific processes and regulatory frameworks for six chemical categories. From this process, they could identify opportunities for improvement, investigate gaps in hazard and exposure data, and minimise problems with current models.

Initial findings were discussed at a workshop in 2012, and a paper published in 2013 expressed HEROIC's vision for IRA. The HEROIC project White Paper, published in April 2015, details the team’s proposed roadmap for making IRA a commonplace regulatory tool.

HEROIC has also produced an online information platform called Tox-Hub that provides access to relevant toxicological and ecotoxicological data and information from certified sources. The Tox-Hub was made public in June 2014, along with a freely available User Manual.

It is clear that the development and implementation of new IRA frameworks for chemicals will require sustained dialogue between all stakeholders, and will necessitate policy and regulatory changes. The HEROIC project represents a significant step forward in achieving these objectives.

Related information

Keywords

Human health risk assessment, environmental risk assessment, integrated risk assessment, regulatory framework, chemical safety, exposure data, toxicological
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