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NIPH is participating in a big European research partnership to improve risk assessment of chemicals
The PARC initiative of the European Union (EU), launched in Paris on 11 May 2022, is breaking new ground in the risk assessment of chemical substances. PARC stands for European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals. The aim is to expand the knowledge about chemical substances in order to better protect human health and the environment. It is believed that PARC will be an important building block towards the EUs ambition of a pollutant free environment.
A key objective of PARC is to promote European cooperation, advance research, increase knowledge on chemical risk assessment and provide training in relevant methodological skills. The results will help launch European and national strategies to reduce risks posed by hazardous chemicals to health and the environment. PARC will also help to reduce animal testing and implement strategies for next generation risk assessment.
NIPH has a leading role
The programme has a total funding volume of 400 million euro for the next seven years. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has a leading role in PARC, and is coordinating the 8 other Norwegian institutes and universities that are partners in PARC.
NIPH is involved in tasks on the following goals:
- Improve consumer health protection by closing data gaps for the risk assessment of potentially hazardous substances.
- Develop and improve innovative and predictive methods that directly contribute to the identification of chemical hazards, risk assessment and regulation of these substances.
- Improving risk assessment concepts to protect human health for adverse effects of chemicals.
- Further development of test methods that can be used as an alternative to animal experiments. NIPH will specifically work in the field of immunotoxicology and developmental neurotoxicity.
- Establishment of EU-wide, sustainable human biomonitoring in continuation of the HBM4EU work.
- Further development of existing monitoring programmes to consider human exposure to additional substance groups and mixtures.
- Systematic establishment of monitoring results as an instrument for the initial or renewed authorisation of hazardous substances.
- Development of innovative analytical methods to detect pollutants at low concentrations.
As a multinational European project, PARC involves 200 institutions from 28 countries and three EU authorities. The partnership is coordinated by ANSES, the French authority for food safety, environmental protection and occupational health. It is designed to support the EU's chemicals strategy and the "European Green Deal", which aim to significantly reduce substances harmful to health or the environment. Half of PARC's funding is provided by the EU through Horizon Europe, the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The other half is provided by the respective partner countries.
As research partnership PARC builds on the structures and findings of previous European projects, including the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU), EuroMix and the cluster for Animal-free Safety Assessment of Chemicals (ASPIS). NIPH is or was partner in all of these projects.