EU car firms in health research initiative

Acea, Commission, discuss establishing research body on model of US institute

The European car makers' association Acea is in talks with the EU Commission about setting up a independent research body to look at the effects of air pollution on health. The body would have links with the US organisation the Health Effects Institute, which is financed half by the car industry and half by the government, but whose research is supposed to be independent of both. Giovanni Margaria, in charge of emissions and fuel at Acea, said that an EU equivalent could be up and running before the end of the year, depending on how discussions go with the Commission. The body would look at as-yet unanswered questions about how certain emissions, such as fine particulates, affect human health. Mr Margaria said that one of its key roles would be to examine data from the US Health Effects Institute to see if these could be made applicable to Europe, avoiding where possible a duplication of the same research. The results of such research would undoubtedly have an influence on future EU policy on air quality. Mr Margaria said the Commission was talking with the oil industry to see whether it could also be involved in the initiative.

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