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Your Environment. Your Health.

WHO Chemical Risk Assessment Network Continues Collaborative Efforts Worldwide

By Christopher Weis

The World Health Organization (WHO) Chemical Risk Assessment Network recently held their second face-to-face meeting in Parma, Italy. The meeting, held June 20-22 at the headquarters of the European Food Safety Agency, included attendance from over 100 individuals representing 72 government health agencies from approximately 45 nations. Training sessions prior to the meeting include sessions on methods of Systematic Review and Chemical Specific Adjustment factors used for protection of public health.

The Network, organized out of the WHO International Program for Chemical Safety (IPCS), has been operational for more than four years. A central focus of the effort is building technical capacity within developing nations and providing communication and training opportunities pertaining to common problems in chemical exposure and toxicity. To date, the Network leadership has organized training and discussion opportunities in Paris, Bhutan, and Thailand on topics of mutual interest and concern. You can learn more about the Network by visiting their website.

Over the past several months, Network members have worked to assist IPCS in the development of a roadmap to enhance health sector engagement in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. With U.S. negotiators including representatives of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, NIEHS, and the State Department, the roadmap was adopted with minor changes by the WHO Executive Committee in May 2017. The roadmap provides opportunities and clear recommendations for the WHO Chemical Risk Assessment Network to serve a significant role in enhancing health sector involvement in issues of importance for environmental chemical exposure and toxicity. A draft roadmap is available for review.