HBM4EU priority substances
In developing priorities for the first annual work plan, the consortium implemented an exercise to prioritise substances for action, taking into account both national and EU level policy needs for knowledge on chemical exposure and health outcomes. As a first step, substances for which knowledge is needed to support current EU policy making were identified through close dialogue with an EU Policy Board. Input from the national level was fed in through a Steering Committee, composed of national representatives and established to guide the preparation of this proposal.
An initial set of criteria was then produced, including such aspects as whether a substance is of concern to human health, whether there is evidence of human and/or environmental exposure at EU level and whether there are open policy questions. The financial and technical feasibility of monitoring the substances was also a criterion.
Substances proposed at both national and EU level were then systematically assessed against these criteria, based on information provided from both EU and national levels. This first prioritisation exercise resulted in the nine substance groupings that will be the focus of HBM4EU activities in 2017 and 2018.
The list of prioritized substance groups includes:
- phthalates and Hexamoll® DINCH,
- per-/polyfluorinated compounds,
- flame retardants,
- cadmium and chromium,
- aniline family,
- chemical mixtures, and
- emerging substances.
The consortium then compiled information on substance classification, policy-related research questions and research objectives, with the results captured in scoping documents for the prioritised substances. These scoping documents formed the basis for the development of activities for inclusion in the 2017 action plan for the HBM4EU.
The scoping documents for 2018 are currently being finalised in order to feed into the 2018 annual work plan.
Two additional rounds of prioritisation will be conducted during the five years of the project, one from 2017 to 2018 and one from 2019 to 2020. The consortium will build on the experience gained with the first prioritisation exercise, refine the approach to increase transparency and make it open to stakeholders.