RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment is hosting an international workshop on new and emerging risks from chemicals on 20 and 21 February 2019. The WHO workshop brings together institutions with expertise in and expert knowledge of methodologies and systems for the identification of emerging risks to human health from chemicals. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the United States (US-NIEHS), the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and RIVM are sponsoring the event. 

Improving chemical risk assessment globally

Sixty participants from the WHO Chemical Risk Assessment Network are attending the workshop, mainly from organisations such as the European Commission’s science and knowledge service Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The overall objective of this network is to improve chemical risk assessment globally, and to anticipate new, emerging risks. This is in line with the objectives of the United Nations (UNUnited Nations  ) and the World Health Organization (WHO) including SAICM: Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management. It is also in accordance with the Dutch policy towards a less incident-driven approach to harmful substances. 

Scope of the workshop

In the context of this workshop, the identification of emerging risks is limited to chemicals, chemical technology and risks to human health, for example novel psychoactive substances (NPS). NPSs are psychoactive substances that legally mimic the effects of traditional drugs such as heroin or cannabinoids, except they are not internationally controlled.