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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

National Research Programme on Environmental and Occupational Health: 37 projects selected, 5.5 million euros mobilised for calls in 2013

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News of 23/12/2013

In 2013, under the National Research Programme on Environmental and Occupational Health, ANSES launched two calls for research projects. In all, 37 projects were selected and allocated a total of €5.5 million, from sums provided by the Ministries of the Environment and Labour, and also from the proceeds of the tax on radiofrequency transmitters and from other partners: the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), the multi-agency thematic institute for cancer (ITMO Cancer) as part of the national Cancer Plan (2009-2013), the Ministry of Agriculture under the French Ecophyto Plan (in cooperation with ONEMA, the French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments). 


One of ANSES’s missions is to organise and support research. This is expressed in its work as part of the National Research Programme on Environmental and Occupational Health (PNR EST), a vital tool for acquiring the knowledge with which to support public policy-making and health risk assessment work. The Agency thus organises one or more calls for research projects every year and two were launched in 2013. The first concerned environmental risks to human health, covering both the general population and workers. The second concerned more specifically the health risks related to radiofrequencies with a focus on electromagnetic hypersensitivity and the characterisation of exposures to radio waves. 

The formal relationship between ANSES and its partners under the terms of the PNR EST meant that the different research communities dealing with environmental and occupational health could be offered a single point of contact, enabling them to benefit from synergy and complementarities between research topics and between projects. 

2013 was a record year, as 296 letters of intent were submitted for the two calls for projects. After a selection process based on the assessments by the scientific committees set up for each call, 37 projects were selected: 26 will be financed with funds entrusted to ANSES by the Ministry of the Environment (€1.6M), by the Ministry of Labour (€0.6M) and by the tax on radiotransmitters (€1.75M). Six others will be financed by the AVIESAN ITMO Cancer institute (€0.85M), four by the ADEME (€0.5M), and one project was selected to be financed by the ONEMA under the Ecophyto 2018 plan (€0.2M). 


The 37 research projects selected concern different agents presenting risks to health. Among these:  

  • 9 projects concern chemical agents, 5 of these specifically on endocrine disruptors and 2 on pesticides; 
  • 9 concern radiofrequencies and more particularly the characterisation of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (seeking links of causality, mechanisms and associated markers) and exposures, especially related to new technologies; 
  • 5 concern biological agents (mycotoxins, antimicrobial resistance, vector control);
  • 2 concern physical agents (UVs, noise); 
  • 3 concern nanoparticles, with a focus this year on studying them in complex environments (the digestive tract, the environment);
  • 1 looks at health risks from the point of view of the human and social sciences.

Of these 37 projects, 13 concern either the occupational health field alone or the occupational and environmental health field. 

Through these calls for projects, ANSES and its partners continue the policy they have pursued for several years of supporting research communities, by dividing up into research themes the goals of the national environmental health and occupational health plans (National Environmental Health Plan 2009-2013, Occupational Health Plan 2010-2014, Cancer Plan 2009-2013, Ecophyto Plan, etc.). 

To ensure the dissemination of the results of this research, and as part of its regular Scientific Conferences, ANSES organises twice yearly reports on the National Research Programme on Environmental and Occupational Health to allow research teams to present their work to the public. The most recent was held on 13 November 2013 and concerned exposure to chemical substances and nanoparticles.