28 May 2002 22:24 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) announced two multi-year cooperative research and development agreements Tuesday to better understand the potential effects of chemicals on foetal and childhood immune system development and the potential impacts of endocrine-active chemicals on wildlife populations.
"We can provide a legacy of better, science-based public health and environmental protection for future generations," EPA administration Christie Whitman said in announcing the agreements. "This is an excellent example of what partnerships can accomplish when we put our minds together."
In January 1999 the chemical industry committed $25m/year (Euro26.9m/year) to a long-range research initiative to increase knowledge of the potential impact that chemicals may have on human and wildlife populations and the environment.
"The Responsible Care guiding principles state a commitment to support education and research on the health, safety and environmental impacts on our products and processes," said Tom Reilly, ACC board chairman and chairman of Reilly Industries.
"Information generated from the long-range research initiative and Responsible Care enables industry to develop and share information with scientific professionals and the public about its facilities, operations and products," Reilly added.
To evaluate ecological effects of endocrine-active chemicals in amphibian and fish models, EPA and ACC noted that gene-array technology, a rapidly expanding approach to molecular-level investigations, is being applied.
The organisations said another key area of research seeks to understand the mode of action of selected chemicals on the developing immune system of laboratory animals, thereby enabling the development of better test methods.
But they noted that no specific testing approach has been established to assess the potential impact on environmental contaminants to children's developing immune system.
"The results from this research will provide relevant and scientifically justifiable information that will be applicable to risk assessment," EPA and ACC said in a statement.
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