KWR participates in new European PARC project

Working on actions for sustainable chemicals with EU research and innovation programme

KWR is a partner in the new PARC project, which was recently kicked off in Paris. KWR researcher Milou Dingemans was present for the occasion. The goal of the Europe-wide research and innovation programme is to improve the risk assessment and sustainability of chemicals. A special project feature is that European authorities, which are responsible for policy implementation, are partners in the initiative. ‘This gives me the confidence that the outcomes will actually be used,’ says Dingemans.

The EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability details the actions aimed at achieving a clean living environment, without pollution from undesirable chemicals in the environment. The new PARC (Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals) project, which recently got underway, is part of this strategy and should stimulate its implementation. The project brings risk assessors and policy-makers together with scientists, so that the necessary methods can be developed more rapidly, and data and knowledge can become more easily accessible. The European agencies EEA, EFSA and ECHA are active project partners. ‘We are going to work with them to identify the knowledge questions, so that the hazards of chemicals can be defined and solutions to them proposed,’ explains Dingemans. The project will reinforce the scientific basis for the risk assessment of chemicals and enable next-generation risk assessment, with a view to enhancing the protection of human and environmental health.

Over 200 partners from 27 countries

PARC is a European collaboration with over 200 partners from 27 countries. The Dutch ministries of Infrastructure and Water Management; Health, Welfare and Sport; and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality have signed up. Dingemans: ‘They also take part in the thinking about what questions need to be answered for the Netherlands to contribute to achieving the European strategy’s objectives.’ The coordination of the European project in our country will be done by RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment), while the partners are VU, UU-IRAS, TNO, WUR, WFSR, Radboudumc, Leiden University and KWR. KWR’s participation is supported by the drinking water utilities. The duration of this research and innovation programme is seven years.

De Nederlandse onderzoeksorganisaties in PARC voorgesteld.

Presentation of the Dutch research organisations in PARC.

Relevance for the water sector

The participation of KWR means that the themes relevant to (drinking) water quality are part and parcel of the project. KWR’s activities will focus in particular on monitoring and exposure, risk assessment and data management. What really excites Dingemans about PARC, is that all those people who need to participate in the thinking about chemicals risk assessment will encounter each other in the programme. ‘In the process, we will also explore beyond the beaten tracks. Think here, for instance, of alternative earnings models for chemicals. Today’s situation is one in which the more of a chemical you sell, the more you earn. But you could also be guided by the chemical’s function, instead of its quantity. If you could, for example, cover a larger surface with less paint, manufacturers would be stimulated to sell as little of the dyestuff as possible. This could be a component of safe-by-design: the encouragement to take safety into account in the development of a chemical or use of a product. The same applies to the circular economy. Here, too, we want to attach the word “safe”: we are striving for a safe circular economy.’

It would be wonderful if we could, with the PARC project, stimulate all kinds of innovations in the risk assessment of chemicals, so that these can be better assessed and be safely and sustainably used, without harming human or environmental health.’

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This partnership has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 101057014.