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PARC: A European partnership to improve chemical risk assessment

Foto: Colourbox

The European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC) was launched on 11 May in Paris, France. It is seeking to develop next-generation chemical risk assessment, incorporating both human health and the environment in a “One Health” approach.

PARC will  support the European Union’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and the European Green Deal‘s “zero pollution” ambition.

PARC aims to bring together a broad community of research establishments and health agencies to advance research, share knowledge and improve skills in chemical risk assessment. The results of this partnership will be used to support new European and national strategies to reduce exposure to hazardous chemicals and their impact on health and the environment.

Will develop new tools

The goal will be to generate new, easily accessible and usable data, along with new assessment methods and tools. In particular, PARC will develop tools to identify new, less hazardous substances that are in keeping with sustainable development approaches.

PARC has strong ambitions for scientific collaboration and will provide a unique opportunity for the different risk assessment players to work together above and beyond the schemes and timetables associated with the different sector-specific regulations. By identifying opportunities for pooling efforts at national and European level, it will optimise the resources dedicated to chemical risk assessment and monitoring and accelerate progress in these areas.

The partnership will build on previous work, in particular the actions undertaken as part of the European Joint Programme HBM4EU (Human Biomonitoring for Europe) and other European projects and programmes like the EURION and ASPIS clusters, EU-ToxRisk, and EuroMix.

Partners from all over Europe

To date, PARC involves nearly 200 partners from 28 countries, as well as three EU agencies (the European Environment Agency – EEA, the European Chemicals Agency – ECHA and the European Food Safety Authority – EFSA). It is bringing into play public partners across the continent, including European and national risk assessment agencies, universities and public research organizations. Five Directorates-General of the European Commission (DG-RTD, DG-GROW, DG-ENV, DG-SANTE and JRC) and the ministries of the countries involved are contributing to the governance of PARC and will monitor its activities. As of now, NILU and 7 other Norwegian organizations contribute to this major project.

NILU will contribute to PARC through its department for Environmental Chemistry (MILK) and the department for Environmental Impacts & Sustainability (IMPACT). Together with the other PARC partners, NILU scientists will work on the development of an Early Warning System, further advances in Hazard and Risk Assessment of chemicals, and the development of a Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD) toolbox for chemicals. NILU will a.o. build on the scientific competence and tools developed for risk governance of nanomaterials within the NILU coordinated EU H2020 project RiskGONE and several other national and international projects and internally funded strategic activities.

The partnership will run for seven years and is scheduled to end in spring 2029. PARC has an estimated budget of €400 million, half of which is being funded by the European Commission and the rest by the partners. ANSES is the partnership coordinator.