$25M/year health and environment research initiative announced

The European chemical industry's contribution to a new $25 million voluntary Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) was announced at the 3rd WHO Ministerial Conference in London this week.

Over the next three years, the LRI will support independent basic research to evaluate the interaction between chemicals, human health and the environment. In the longer term the global budget is expected to rise from $25 million a year to $30 million a year.

Subjects targeted for funding are endocrine disruption, exposure assessment, risk assessment, chemical carcinogenesis, respiratory toxicity, immunotoxicity and allergy.

In announcing the LRI in Europe, Mr Luciano Respini, President of Dow Europe said, “The information we will gain from the science will improve our ability to characterise exposures to chemicals and determine whether there are any significant links associated with those exposures. Our LRI programme complements the WHO research priorities identified in its ‘Environment and Health Research for Europe‘ programme.”

“The LRI is not just about science, it is also about the chemical industry’s desire to be open about everything we do and underlines our commitment to Responsible Care. All results will be peer-reviewed and made public – whether they are good or bad for the industry.”

“Let me be absolutely clear,” he added “We will act on the results. It’s that simple. It’s that important.”

The LRI will involve many of the world’s leading independent scientists and will solicit advice and participation of government agencies. An external panel of experts will ensure that the research is conducted without sponsor-bias.

A call for research proposals for funding from the LRI was published earlier this month in scientific journals and on the Internet.

The LRI will be run jointly by the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), the US Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) and the Japanese Chemical Industry Association (JCIA) under the umbrella of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA).

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