Page thématique

Environmental health

On a day-to-day basis and throughout our lives, the environment is a major determinant of our health.  Whether it concerns chemical substances, airborne particles or electromagnetic waves, ANSES's expertise constantly provides the latest scientific knowledge on the risk factors for environmental exposure. The Agency assesses the risks of environmental pollution and various new technologies, and also evaluates the chemicals found in everyday products.

News

Launch of the European research and innovation PARC programme to improve chemical risk assessment
11/05/2022
News

Launch of the European research and innovation PARC programme to improve chemical risk assessment

The European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC), which is being launched today in Paris, France, is seeking to develop next-generation chemical risk assessment, incorporating both human health and the environment in a "One Health" approach. It will help support the European Union's Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and the European Green Deal's "zero pollution" ambition. Bringing together nearly 200 partners from 28 countries as well as EU agencies, PARC is coordinated by ANSES, with funding from the European Commission's Horizon Europe research and innovation framework programme and the partnership’s participants.
PestiRiv study: focus on the second survey period designed to improve knowledge of exposure to pesticides in wine-growing areas
06/05/2022
News

PestiRiv study: focus on the second survey period designed to improve knowledge of exposure to pesticides in wine-growing areas

The PestiRiv study, which Santé publique France and ANSES have been conducting in six regions of metropolitan France (Grand Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) since October 2021, entered its second period in March. This unprecedented work will provide the first ever measurements of exposure to pesticides in wine-growing and non-wine-growing areas. Here we take a look at the study through three questions.
Beware of ticks in forests or gardens
03/05/2022
News

Beware of ticks in forests or gardens

Especially active in the spring and autumn, ticks are the main vectors of pathogens responsible for infectious diseases in Europe. In particular, they transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in humans. Bites can occur in woods and forests, but also in gardens.
TIQUoJARDIN is looking for volunteers to collect ticks from the gardens around Nancy
28/04/2022
News
Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife

TIQUoJARDIN is looking for volunteers to collect ticks from the gardens around Nancy

When they bite, ticks can transmit pathogens such as the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease. Although this risk is usually associated with forests, many bites also occur in gardens. The TIQUoJARDIN project is seeking to better understand the associated risks, and to do this it relies on the participation of as many people as possible. After a first campaign in 2021, the scientific team is once again calling on the inhabitants of Nancy and its surroundings to collect ticks in their gardens from 1 May to 10 July 2022.
What can science tell us about the exposome?
20/04/2022
News

What can science tell us about the exposome?

Every year, over 70% of deaths worldwide are due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer or diabetes. These diseases are related to a combination of various risk factors to which we are exposed during our lifetime, and which may or may not be genetic. A scientific analysis of the exposome addresses non-genetic risks by studying all the environmental factors to which a human being is exposed throughout their life. ANSES and Inserm are organising a scientific meeting today to review scientific advances in this field. In this interview, three scientists discuss this concept and ANSES’s work in the area.
Chemicals in textiles and footwear: a proposal for regulations that offer more protection
09/03/2022
News

Chemicals in textiles and footwear: a proposal for regulations that offer more protection

Clothing and shoes contain many chemicals. While some of these are already covered by regulations, others still need to be identified or regulated. Based on the results of the study it carried out, the Agency has proposed restrictions for over 1000 chemicals at European level in order to improve consumer safety.
Beware of confusion between autumn crocus and wild garlic
05/03/2022

Beware of confusion between autumn crocus and wild garlic

When out foraging, people sometimes confuse toxic wild plants with edible ones. Mistaking autumn crocus for wild garlic can cause serious or even fatal poisoning. Follow our advice to ensure safe picking.
CiTIQUE programme wins an award for participatory research
04/03/2022
News
Laboratory for Animal Health, Maisons-Alfort and Dozulé sites

CiTIQUE programme wins an award for participatory research

The CiTIQUE programme, in which ANSES is involved, has just won the first edition of INRAE’s Participatory Research Award, in the Crowdsourcing category. This award recognises citizens' participation in data collection. CiTIQUE is seeking to improve knowledge of biting ticks and the pathogens they can transmit.
ANSES and ACTA renew their partnership
01/03/2022
News

ANSES and ACTA renew their partnership

ANSES and ACTA, the association of French agricultural technical institutes, have just renewed their framework partnership agreement at the Paris International Agricultural Show. This allows them to continue their commitment to address the challenges facing agriculture, food and the environment.
Women at ANSES - "Collaborative work is crucial for monitoring tick-borne diseases"
03/05/2021
Laboratory for Animal Health, Maisons-Alfort and Dozulé sites

Women at ANSES - "Collaborative work is crucial for monitoring tick-borne diseases"

Sara Moutailler, director of the BIPAR Joint Research Unit, is medical entomologist specialising in ticks.
Work on 5G updated following a public consultation
17/02/2022
News

Work on 5G updated following a public consultation

Today, ANSES is publishing an updated version of its expert appraisal on the potential health effects of 5G, following the public consultation on its first opinion, organised between April and June 2021. The further details provided from the analysis of the contributions and the inclusion of recent exposure measurements confirm the expert appraisal's initial findings. Based on current knowledge, the Agency believes it unlikely that the deployment of 5G will lead to new health risks with regard to previous telephone generations.
Inhalation of sea spray containing brevetoxins can cause poisoning
08/02/2022
News

Inhalation of sea spray containing brevetoxins can cause poisoning

Brevetoxins produced by microalgae were first detected in France in 2018. Inhalation of contaminated sea spray during swimming or water sports can cause poisoning. Professionals working in contaminated areas are the most exposed, with pregnant women and people with asthma being the most vulnerable. Although no cases have been reported to date in France, further knowledge is needed.

Decryption

Toxicity reference values (TRVs)
06/04/2022

Toxicity reference values (TRVs)

As part of its missions and under the French National Environmental & Health Action Plan (2004-2008), the Agency began a national programme on TRVs in 2004 with the aim of building solid French expertise that could be shared by the various competent authorities in this area.
Pesticides in drinking water: how does ANSES contribute to protecting consumer health?
02/03/2022

Pesticides in drinking water: how does ANSES contribute to protecting consumer health?

As they disperse in our environment, pesticides can be transformed into one or more other compounds called "metabolites". The active substances of pesticides and their metabolites are therefore liable to contaminate water resources and end up in drinking water (DW). ANSES supports the authorities in managing situations where the regulatory limits are exceeded, in order to guarantee consumer health. It has also designed a method for identifying which pesticide metabolites warrant priority attention, with regard to the health issues associated with drinking water consumption.
Identifying alternatives to formaldehyde
11/02/2022

Identifying alternatives to formaldehyde

What is formaldehyde? Formaldehyde is a chemical compound occurring at room temperature as a colourless and flammable gas. It is often marketed in its liquid form, commonly known as formalin. How does exposure to formaldehyde occur? Formaldehyde is used in many occupational sectors and consumer products. It is a biocidal product used as a disinfectant, fixative and preservative. It is found in DIY and cleaning products, in wall coverings, flooring and furniture panelling and fabrics, plastics and other products. In the general population, exposure can occur through a wide range of formaldehyde sources in indoor air, including from fixtures and fittings, and decorating and household products that release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also released by combustion of cigarettes and tobacco products, candles, incense sticks and in open fireplaces and combustion appliances such as gas cookers and paraffin stoves. According to the findings of the 2017 SUMER survey, more than 185,000 workers were exposed to formaldehyde (PDF) (in French) (not counting exposure through formaldehyde-based resins and adhesives). The greatest exposure is in the health sector and in anatomical and cytological pathology laboratories (anatomical pathologists), the funeral industry (embalmers), agriculture, the chemical, food, paper and board, timber and furniture industries and in construction. What are the effects on health? The critical effects of acute or chronic formaldehyde exposure in humans are irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Airborne formaldehyde also causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans, as observed in epidemiological studies of workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde. How is formaldehyde regulated? Key formaldehyde dates: 2004 : The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified formaldehyde as a “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1) for nasopharyngeal cancer by inhalation. 2006 : The French Ministry of Labour included “work involving exposure to formaldehyde” on the list of carcinogenic substances, preparations and processes, as defined by the Labour Code, in an Order dated July 2006. This became effective on 1 January 2007 and requires the implementation of formaldehyde substitution measures as a priority. 2009 : Nasopharyngeal cancer was recognised as an occupational disease (Table 43 bis on cancerous conditions caused by formaldehyde) when linked to exposure in the workplace for 5 years through tasks such as formalin preparation, formaldehyde use in embalming and anatomical and cytological pathology laboratories, manufacture and use of formaldehyde-based resins and wood flooring varnishes, and fire extinguishing. 2014 : Following ANSES’s classification proposal , formaldehyde was classified as a Category 1B carcinogen and Category 2 mutagen at European level by Commission Regulation (EU) No 605/2014 of 5 June 2014. 2019 : A binding occupational exposure limit was adopted at European level (Directive 2019/983/EC), which was then transposed into French law by Decree No 2020-1546 of 9 December 2020. 2020 : Following an evaluation by the German Government, formaldehyde was approved as a biocidal active substance for product types 2 and 3 for a reduced period of 3 years. Companies marketing disinfectant biocidal products containing formaldehyde were required to apply for a marketing authorisation before 1 February 2022, with supporting arguments demonstrating that the products do not cause human or environmental exposure and why they are essential. What does ANSES’s work on the risks associated with formaldehyde use include? For more than ten years, ANSES has been conducting various expert assessments to evaluate the toxicity of formaldehyde, qualify and reduce human exposure, particularly in the workplace, and evaluate health risks. Assessing the risks for people (general population and workers) After formaldehyde was classified by the IARC in June 2004, the Agency was asked to assess the health risks associated with formaldehyde in indoor, outdoor (PDF) (in French) and occupational environments (PDF) (in French) . The main conclusions of two expert appraisal reports published by ANSES in 2008 were as follows: ranking sources of formaldehyde in indoor environments and evaluating their respective contributions to the exposure of the general population is challenging; the risk of cancer in the general population can be ruled out for both adults and children; the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer in workers cannot be ruled out in a number of occupational sectors with repeated high levels of exposure; the formaldehyde content of products intended for the general public should be reduced, and such products should be labelled with their formaldehyde emission levels. Reducing formaldehyde emissions at source In 2006 and 2009, ANSES proposed a protocol to identify and promote “low-emitting” building materials and decorating products among consumers. This work has been useful for developing French legislation on the labelling of these materials. In 2014, ANSES worked on priority chemicals to support the government in implementing future labelling requirements for volatile contaminants from furniture products (PDF) (in French) . Formaldehyde was identified as one of these priority chemicals for labelling. Regulating the use of formaldehyde In 2011, ANSES drafted and submitted a proposal on behalf of the French Government for a stricter classification of formaldehyde at European level. On the basis of this proposal, formaldehyde was classified as a category 1B carcinogen and a category 2 mutagen. In 2013, ANSES and the RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands) jointly took charge of the assessment of formaldehyde under the REACH Regulation. Following this review of occupational risks (PDF) (in French) , ANSES identified health risks for workers in several occupational sectors and recommended the implementation of a risk reduction strategy. In 2017, ANSES examined different options for regulatory control of formaldehyde (PDF) (in French) in order to reduce and manage the risks for workers, and recommended the establishment of a binding occupational exposure limit at European level. Establishing health reference values The Agency develops health reference values for the general population and workers based on toxicity data. These reference values are based on health criteria and aim to protect people from any adverse effects due to exposure to chemicals. In 2017, in the light of new published data, it updated the reference values for formaldehyde, the earliest of which dated from 2007: acute and chronic toxicity reference values (TRVs) by inhalation were set at 123 µg.m-3. TRVs are toxicological indicators used to qualify or quantify the risk to human health associated with exposure to a chemical. They are used by companies and research institutions to demonstrate risk management and by government to establish recommendations on risk management; the indoor air quality guideline (IAQG) was set at 100 µg.m-3 to align it with WHO’s 2010 indoor air guideline. ANSES’s recommended IAQGs are airborne chemical concentration thresholds under which no health impacts or harm are expected in the general population; occupational exposure limits (OELs) were aligned with values set by the 2019 European Directive: an 8h-OEL of 350 µg.m-3 and a 15min-STEL of 700 µg.m-3. ANSES’s recommended OELs are usually airborne chemical concentration levels that workers can breathe during a specified period without experiencing adverse health effects. The concentration levels are determined for a homogeneous exposed population (workers) that excludes children and the elderly. Reducing health risks in the workplace Beyond recommending occupational exposure limits for formaldehyde, which will limit exposure levels in the workplace once introduced at the regulatory level, ANSES received a request from the government in 2014 for guidance on the potential substitution of formaldehyde in five occupational sectors : the feed industry (PDF) (in French) , mainly for formaldehyde treatment of soybean cakes; anatomical and cytological pathology (PDF) (in French) in medical diagnostics; embalming (PDF) (in French) ; the food industry, particularly the manufacture of sugar (PDF) (in French) and alginates (PDF) (in French) ; fish farming (PDF) (in French) . To carry out this work, the Agency developed an overall method for comparing a chemical to its alternatives. Expert appraisals in occupational diseases ANSES is currently conducting expert appraisals on the links between occupational exposure to formaldehyde and leukaemia, including myeloid leukaemia. This work will provide the scientific information needed for discussing any changes to the existing occupational disease tables or recommending new tables.
COVID-19 research
02/08/2021

COVID-19 research

Working at the interface between human and animal health, in the spirit of "One Health", ANSES's laboratories help provide effective, rapid responses to issues of applied research that can be implemented immediately. As an example, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ANSES has been deploying its research teams, its expert knowledge of zoonoses and animal coronaviruses, and its network of laboratories to improve our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and respond to questions that have arisen from this crisis. Here is an overview of the various projects undertaken by the Agency.
Disinfectants for swimming pools and spas – be sure to follow the instructions for use
28/07/2021

Disinfectants for swimming pools and spas – be sure to follow the instructions for use

ANSES calls for continued vigilance to avoid accidents when using disinfectant products for swimming pools and spas. The Agency recommends strictly observing the instructions for use and safety precautions, only handling the products outdoors or otherwise in a well-ventilated room, not mixing them together in the same container and storing them away from humidity and heat. These products must also be kept out of the reach of children.
Food safety, from farm to fork
21/04/2021

Food safety, from farm to fork

Milk, meat, vegetables... any of the food we eat can be a source of contamination. Through the transmission of bacteria, parasites, viruses of animal or plant origin, or chemical contaminants, our food can potentially cause illness or poisoning in humans. Food safety forms part of a global "one health" approach, at the interface of animal, plant and human health. To protect consumers from the risks of food contamination and prevent potential outbreaks, it is essential to take action at all stages of the food chain, "from farm to fork". This is ANSES's role.
Learn all about vectors and the issues associated with their control
06/01/2021

Learn all about vectors and the issues associated with their control

Lyme disease, Zika, chikungunya, dengue... Recent years have seen a re-emergence of the pathogens responsible for these diseases, which are transmitted by insects and other arthropods. On Thursday 17 December 2020, ANSES is hosting a scientific webinar on the new prospects for controlling these species, known as vectors. The Agency is taking this opportunity to explain exactly what these pathogen vectors are: not only tiger mosquitoes and ticks, but other vectors of diseases specifically affecting animals or plants. What is ANSES doing in the areas of expert appraisal and research to address these health issues? All the answers are in this dossier on the subject.
Research on vectors undertaken at ANSES
05/01/2021

Research on vectors undertaken at ANSES

Some arthropods (a family that includes insects and arachnids) such as ticks and mosquitoes can transmit pathogens that cause diseases in animals, plants and/or humans. Several ANSES laboratories are studying vector-borne diseases transmitted to animals and the ability of vectors to transmit these pathogens.
One Health
16/11/2020

One Health

The "One Health" concept was first put forward in the early 2000s, with growing awareness of the close links between human health, animal health and the overall state of the environment. It aims to promote a multidisciplinary, global approach to health issues. ANSES's work is fully in line with the One Health concept, and the Agency is coordinating several projects based on it.
Vaping products
10/11/2020

Vaping products

Since their introduction in France in 2007, the use of vaping products has spread very quickly, and the national market continues to expand. What are these new products, how are they regulated and what risks can they pose to our health? Update on ANSES’s work
Tobacco and related products
10/11/2020

Tobacco and related products

Under the regulations on tobacco and related products, ANSES is responsible for collecting and analysing the information reported by manufacturers on the products sold in France. As part of this work, the Agency is providing expert scientific support to the Directorate General for Health (DGS). It provides knowledge on the products placed on the French market, along with scientific intelligence on product composition. The Agency also conducts expert appraisals to assess the health risks associated with these products, which ties in with its other work on chemicals in consumer products and the health risks related to air quality. Overview of ANSES's responsibilities
ANSES's recommendations to ensure the effectiveness of hand sanitisers
28/10/2020

ANSES's recommendations to ensure the effectiveness of hand sanitisers

Alcohol-based gels and solutions used as hand sanitisers are disinfectants designed to remove bacteria or viruses from healthy skin. They are biocidal products, and as such are subject to the European Regulation on these products. ANSES is responsible for assessing and issuing marketing authorisations for these types of products. Following their massive use in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agency issued an opinion on the effectiveness criteria for hand sanitisers. What properties make them effective against viruses or bacteria? Can they replace hand washing? How should they be stored?

Publications

Document PDF
Assessment of the risks related to physical agents and new technologies
Thematique
Environmental health
Date de mise en ligne
05/04/2022
Numéro de saisine
2019-SA-0006
Document PDF
Health reference values
Thematique
Environmental health
Date de mise en ligne
15/03/2022
Numéro de saisine
2019-SA-0116
Document PDF
Assessment of the risks related to physical agents and new technologies
Thematique
Environmental health
Date de mise en ligne
09/03/2022
Numéro de saisine
2018-SA-0168
Document PDF
Assessment of the physical and chemical risks in foods
Thematique
Food and nutrition
Environmental health
Date de mise en ligne
24/01/2022
Numéro de saisine
2020-SA-0020