The European chemicals industry and its American and Japanese counterparts are to fund an international programme to investigate the links between chemicals, health and environment, it was announced today at the WHO ministerial conference in London (ENDS Daily 15 June). Under the Long-range Research Initiative (LRI), the industry is planning to spend US$25m (euros 23.8m) annually to improve its ability to characterise human exposure to chemicals and determine whether exposure entails significant health risks. The programme is being funded by the European Chemical Industries Federation (CEFIC) in conjunction with the US Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Japanese Chemical Industry Association. Under the initiative, the organisations will publish findings from "leading-edge" research by independent scientists even if it "goes against direct business interests" and "act openly" on the information the research produces, CEFIC said today. It argues that the LRI is necessary to "regain public trust" and "enhance" its reputation and will be monitored by an independent panel to eliminate "sponsor bias". Among the topics to be investigated are chemical carcinogenesis, marine risk assessment and endocrine disruption. Funding has been guaranteed for three years, after which time the arrangement will be "reviewed regularly".
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