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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Health and safety: ANSES and the InVS sign a framework cooperation agreement

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News of 10/04/2012

10 April 2012

On 10 April 2012, Marc Mortureux, Director General of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) and Françoise Weber, Director General of the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS), signed a framework agreement designed to reinforce the current relationship between these two key players in the national health and safety system. The agreement sets three priority themes: integrated surveillance of exposure to chemicals, health surveillance and vigilance, and infectious disease control.

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) was created on 1 July 2010 to assess risks to human, animal and plant health and thus contribute to the safety of workers and consumers. Its activities are based on independent and pluralistic scientific expert appraisals carried out by committees of outside experts. This central mission benefits from the knowledge generated by the activities of science watch, research and reference, and results in recommendations that are submitted to government authorities.

The mission of the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS) is to monitor the state of the population’s health, provide health surveillance and vigilance, alert the authorities to any threat to public health and contribute to the management of health crises. In the event of an alert, the InVS recommends appropriate measures or actions to prevent or mitigate the impact of the threat concerned.

Because of the complementary nature of their missions, these two agencies naturally already work together on certain issues (dioxins and incinerators, PCBs, etc.). The new agreement therefore allows the two institutions to improve their coordination and communications, notably by drawing up a joint annual work programme based on identified similarities in their respective work programmes.

The agreement will also enable them to reinforce and optimise their cooperation by setting three priority work themes:

1. Integrated surveillance of exposure to chemicals:

  • sharing biological data about human contamination (biomonitoring) collected by the InVS, and data concerning dietary practices and food contamination together with the expert appraisal studies carried out by ANSES. Such collaboration will improve characterisation of different exposures and facilitate the interpretation of biological exposure indicators;

2. Health surveillance and vigilance:

  • centralisation of data collected by the InVS via the network of Poison Control and Monitoring Centres. This information will contribute to the risk assessment studies carried out by ANSES, especially in the field of plant protection products, biocides and veterinary medicine;

3. Infectious disease control:

  • intensified cooperation between the teams at the National Centres of Reference run by the InVS and the National Reference Laboratories run by ANSES,
  • cooperation concerning animal and human epidemiology, especially concerning zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans).

> InVS website