This is later than it should be (interrupted by a nasty dose of the flu and some travel commitments) but we launched our report, Systematic Review and the Future of Evidence in Chemicals Policy, at a lunchtime debate at the European Parliament on 4 November.
Kindly hosted by Corinne Lepage MEP (ALDE) it went pretty well, being attended by the UK Royal Society of Chemistry, the BPA Coalition, a number of NGOs, MEPs, journalists, researchers and consultants. For the opening of a new issue by a modestly-funded project, this level of interest is very encouraging.
More encouraging still was general agreement that the report does indeed (as we were hoping to be the case) outline sensible proposals for overhauling how scientific literature is reviewed in the course of assessing chemical safety. It has been a lot of work and we really appreciated the generous reception given to our ideas at the debate.
Next, we will be publishing a beta version of the toolkit we developed in the course of critiquing EFSA’s 2010 and 2013 (draft) Scientific Opinions on BPA, before running some webinars on our report findings and toolkit methodology.
>> Download the report here. <<
EFSA, represented by Dr Hubert Deluyker: the suggestion that EFSA should publish protocols of what it was going to do before starting work “merits serious reflection” and although it is “not easy to be criticised […] it would be totally stupid to ignore good work”. EFSA would be “would be foolish not to take account” the report’s comments about the 2010 assessment before releasing its draft full Opinion on BPA in 2014.
BPA Coalition: “the report calls for uniform approach to methodology based on evidence in order to ensure transparency, remove bias in scientific reviews and ultimately foster better policy making. That’s not just a conclusion we can all support but one that the Coalition welcomes full-heartedly”
Prof Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT): “EFSA is the wrong victim to hit, because it uses systematic reviews well, while ECHA has not implemented systematic reviews.” (This is a fair point; the reason we looked at EFSA was because we were interested to see if EFSA’s commitments to systematic review techniques had yielded any changes in their Scientific Opinions; we were able to do this in time to submit comments to the consultation on the draft BPA exposure assessment.)
- Report calls for use of systematic reviews in risk assessments | Chemical Watch
- Chemical assessments ‘should learn from medicine’ | ENDS Europe
- EFSA’s approach on BPA not scientific, MEPs told | European Food Policy (no link, paywalled)
- BPA – EFSA responds to critics | European Food Policy (no link, paywalled)
- BPA Coalition welcomes new report calling for better policy through better methodology | BPA Coalition
- Who can you believe when it comes to chemical safety? | Health & Environment (written by ourselves)
- REACH: Neue Chemikalien auf dem Prüfstand | Deutsche Naturschutzring