The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety highlights its priorities for 2013
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News of 18/03/2013
The Agency’s work schedule for 2013 will involve two major campaigns:
- In the field of air pollution, studies of allergens (especially pollen) and health risks due to particles in the atmosphere, particularly those caused by road traffic, will be undertaken or continued this year. A study is currently under way on air quality in underground rail transport areas, in order to assess the risks to workers.
- Concerning food safety, the Agency will be reinforcing the resources of our reference laboratories for monitoring food products and detecting potential hazards for the authorities. A hundred new screening methods will be developed over the next three years for monitoring the food chain and water intended for human consumption, in order to characterise emerging risks. A particular effort will be made to improve detection of viruses causing foodborne illnesses, to rapidly identify virulence genes in new strains of bacteria, and to develop new ways of detecting parasites in fish. Regarding chemical contaminants, new methods will be developed to detect around a hundred pesticides or antimicrobial residues using a single screening protocol, which will make the process far more efficient.
In 2013 ANSES will also publish several eagerly-awaited reports and Opinions, including:
- a final assessment of risks related to exposure to bisphenol A and the other compounds in the bisphenol family, as a part of its research into endocrine disruptors;
- an updated review of scientific knowledge of risks related to radiofrequencies, undertaken by the permanent expert group set up in 2011;
- an assessment of the risks related to the consumption of energy drinks, accompanied by a report on the consumption of such drinks, following several reports of severe adverse effects;
- an assessment of risks related to the exposure of workers to asphalt;
- a risk assessment concerning nano-silver and a summary note by the permanent expert working group on Nanomaterials and health, to update previous expert appraisals on this subject;
- a report, to be issued before the end of the year by the specialised expert group set up in 2011 to study the risk of the emergence of antimicrobial resistance due to the way antimicrobials are currently used;
- in 2013, two important sets of European guidelines on plant protection products should be completed. The Agency has contributed to these under the aegis of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), to reinforce the risk assessment criteria for agricultural workers and for bees respectively. In addition the Agency will continue to assess the combined risk of exposure to combinations of chemicals;
- concerning bee health, an expert group was set up at the start of 2013 to study co-exposure of bees and bee colonies to various stress factors. The European surveillance programme on bee mortality and diseases, which has been supervised by the laboratory in Sophia-Antipolis since the autumn of 2012, will be publishing its first results;
- in the field of veterinary medicinal products, negotiations concerning a review will be undertaken in 2013 of EU regulations in the sector of veterinary medicinal products and medicated feed.
Lastly, ANSES is implementing new ethical requirements for scientists involved in expert appraisal and has launched its new web site.