The importance of science to decision-making about the safety of chemicals is more evident today than ever before. Everyone is calling for more science, better science, and science that can really drive decisions. The business of chemistry is all about science – science aimed towards innovations in products and services that can make people’s lives better, healthier, and safer.
Implementation of REACH in the EU …, Initiatives to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the US … The industry’s obligations under SAICM … De-selection pressures … Globally, the industry’s product stewards, regulatory agencies, and the general public are seeking information about chemical exposures and hazards to address these current issues. This information is crucial to risk assessment, risk management, and risk mitigation and, ultimately, is the basis for making good decisions about chemical management strategies. Similarly, the general public is demanding better information about safe use of chemicals, a critical element for improving their confidence in our products. They argue that industry should bear the cost of producing this information as part of their responsibilities as chemical manufacturers.
All of these issues remind us that science is an essential part of the process needed to inform good decisions. Since 1999, the Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) has provided the science to address such issues and the demands of decision-makers and the public to understand the impact of chemicals on human health and the environment.
Key Drivers for LRI
LRI's mission is to identify and fill gaps in our understanding about the hazards posed by chemicals and to improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks. Its innovative research programs are designed to improve the way we address the safety of our chemicals, particularly everyday exposures of consumers to low levels of chemicals or chemical mixtures. The LRI fosters a sustainable and healthy future through its support of high-quality science that can inform effective decision-making by industry, regulators and society.
LRI research directly addresses many of the complex challenges faced by the industry as it advocates for sound chemicals management policies. Through the LRI, the chemical industry participates as a key contributor to the science that will shape the future of chemical management policies. The LRI brings credibility to industry’s engagement.
LRI does not operate in a vacuum. The research often involves collaborations and partnerships that leverage industry funding with existing publicly funded projects. In this way, relatively small investments by the industry can multiply the yield of knowledge relevant to the safety of our chemicals. Partnerships enhance the visibility and credibility of the science and improve the interface between science and policy. Workshops sponsored by LRI also provide dynamic forums that foster interactions among researchers and stakeholders, stimulate discussions that can improve the scientific basis for policy-making, and support consensus building that can advance risk and safety assessments for chemicals.
LRI: Science in Action
The LRI is actively responding to the many questions from regulators and the public about chemical risks through its research programs. For example, since 2005, LRI has been a global leader in
interpretation of human biomonitoring data through research, consensus-building among different entities, and communication of the scientific results, as well as other outreach activities to governments and NGOs. Its broader program in exposure science is improving our understanding of the exposures of different people to multiple chemicals in environment. LRI is also investing in innovations for toxicity testing to advance methods that are faster, more cost-effective, and responsive to animal welfare issues.
In summary, the LRI, its research, its workshops, and its effective communication efforts facilitate translation of scientific innovations in ways that can advance chemical management, better inform decisions about safe use of chemicals and lead to improved public confidence in our products. The LRI program for innovating chemical risk assessment positions the chemical industry as a leader and knowledge partner in the broader community of science and policy experts. It will further ensure value and relevance to other global programs, such as
GPS, that demand state-of-the-art methods to understand and communicate environmental risk information.