04/04/2022

Presentation of the dialogue committee

on "Nanomaterials & Health"

1. Context

Exchange and dialogue with various parts of society are enshrined in ANSES's statutes, as well as in its strategic orientations and the conduct of its expert appraisal processes. This means that in addition to the presence of stakeholder representatives in its governance bodies (Board of Administrators and thematic steering committees), the Agency has adopted a charter of openness to society, jointly with four other public research and expert appraisal establishments working in the area of health and environmental risks.
 
This charter commits the signatory institutions and agencies to greater transparency with respect to their activities and working methods, improved sharing of available scientific knowledge and the uncertainties surrounding it, and better consideration of the contribution of players from civil society to the risk assessment process. In application of the commitments set out in this charter, a Dialogue Committee on "Radiofrequencies & Health" was set up by ANSES in June 2011, followed by one on "Nanomaterials & Health" in December 2012.

The health issues related to the development, uses and environmental dispersion of engineered nanomaterials rank high among emerging and controversial risks. The Agency has published and undertaken numerous expert appraisals on the knowledge of dietary, environmental and occupational exposures to nanomaterials and their consequences.

To conduct its collective expert appraisal work in this area, ANSES calls on the "Nanomaterials and Food" Working Group (WG) placed under the aegis of the Expert Committee (CES) on "Assessment of the physical and chemical risks in foods" (ERCA). The main objective of this multidisciplinary group of experts is to ensure permanent scientific monitoring and produce knowledge on the hazards, exposures and health risks associated with nanomaterials in food. 

In addition, each year ANSES issues a call for research projects in occupational and environment health (PNR EST), which enables it to support research projects in this field. 

2. Objectives

The purpose of this dialogue committee is to discuss the state of knowledge, health risk assessment methodologies and current scientific debates on the hazards and major health issues associated with exposure to nanomaterials, in relation to the Agency's activities.

The fact that the dialogue committee has been set up by ANSES enables it to guide the work of both the scientific committee in charge of the specific research programme, and the working groups and expert committees specialising in these questions.

This body's objectives are to:

  • debate and exchange views on the scientific work produced or needing to be encouraged;
  • question its areas of validity or application;
  • make proposals on areas for future research and/or on the expert appraisals to be carried out; 
  • make recommendations on the use of this work for information purposes;
  • help clarify stakeholders' expectations and questions, and identify the most suitable methods/players/places for taking them into account.

The Dialogue Committee on "Nanomaterials & Health" is designed to be a forum for discussion aimed at enhancing and questioning the scientific work conducted or encouraged by the above-mentioned bodies. In the longer term, it should provide a platform for dialogue, reflection and information on the anticipation and control of risks associated with the production, use and spread of nanomaterials.

It is understood that only issues within the scope of ANSES's responsibilities shall be addressed, i.e. the health risks of nanomaterials. Questions on the governance and management of nanotechnology development, management measures and regulatory provisions shall be dealt with through the working group tasked with following up the public debate on nanotechnologies that the State undertook to establish with the various stakeholders, in the interministerial letter of 13 February 2012 "to consider very specifically the possible conditions and areas of work for a lasting association of civil society players with governance in this field".

3. Composition

The dialogue committee brings together representatives of associations, employee trade unions, companies and industry federations, with a view to achieving a balance between the interest groups.

Following the public call for expressions of interest, the players below were selected to contribute to the discussions, and their representatives committed to regular participation in the meetings.

Associations

  • Dominique Allaume-Bobe, Administrator in charge of sustainable development, National Union of Family Associations (UNAF)
  • Karine Chagnes, General Delegate, Committee for Sustainable Development in Health (C2DS)
  • Sylvie Platel, Coordinator of the Environmental Health Network, France Nature Environnement (FNE)
  • Marie-France Corre, Member of the Expert Committee, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF France)
  • Fleur Gorre, Chemicals Campaigner, Générations Futures
  • Alain Elie, Responsible for nanotechnologies, Léo Lagrange Association for Consumer Protection
  • Justine Gagna-Olijnyk, Technical Manager, Cosmébio              
  • Gaëlle Landry, Project Manager/Technical Editor, Comparative Tests Department, UFC Que Choisir
  • Danièle Lanquetuit, Association for Monitoring and Civic Information on the Challenges of Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies (AVICENN)
  • Léa Lamblin, Project Officer for Food, French Confederation for Consumer Affairs, Housing and Quality of Life (CLCV)
  • Aude Lapprand, General Delegate, Sciences Citoyennes
  • Madeleine Madorė, Chair, Le Lien (France Assos Santé)
  • Magali Ringoot, Coordinator of the nanotechnology campaign, Agir pour l'Environnement

Representatives of companies and industry federations

  • Catherine Bramaud, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Department, French Federation of Beauty Companies (FEBEA)
  • Anne Marie Imbs-Viallet, Technical and Regulatory Affairs Manager, French Union for the Veterinary Medicinal Product and Reagent

Industry (SIMV)

  • Lucie Lambolez-Michel, Occupational Health Expert, French Professional Federation of Water Companies (FP2E)
  • Patrick Levy, Chair of the "Environmental Health" Working Group, MEDEF
  • Sandrine Blanchemanche, Director of the Healthy, Safe and Sustainable Food Unit, National Food Industry Federation (ANIA)
  • Sandra Rimey, Secretary General, French Industrial Minerals Union (MI-F)
  • Paul Tossa, Toxicologist/Environmental Health Risk Assessor, Group Health Delegation, Medical Studies Department, EDF
  • Marie Zimmer-Jehanne, Technical Department/Product Management, French Chemical Industries Union (UIC)

Employee trade unions

  •  Agnès Dutrevis, Member of the Health & Safety Committee of the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Paris, CGT
  • Serge Journoux, CGT
  • Gérald Hayotte, CFDT

The Chair and Vice-Chair of the Working Group (WG) on "Nanomaterials and Food" and of the Expert Committee (CES) on "Physical Agents and New Technologies" are systematically invited to participate in and contribute to the debates. Meetings are also open to other WG members who wish to take part.

The committee's configuration may change if other players express an interest in taking part in this dialogue body, after an opinion has been issued by the Chair and the group's members.

4. Operation

Gérard Lasfargues, former Managing Director General of ANSES's Science for Expertise Division, has retired but continues to chair the committee on a voluntary basis.

This body was set up in November 2012 and meets once or twice a year, depending on current events and the needs expressed by its members. It is not intended to produce a consensus or common position.

Its members undertake to participate regularly and not to use or repeat directly remarks made by the various stakeholders at these meetings. The verbatim reports, which reproduce the content of the exchanges in full, are internal working documents for the group and are not intended for distribution.

To preserve the equanimity of the debates, participants also commit to listen, exercise restraint and respect the points of view expressed by other stakeholders, in the interests of equitable access and freedom of speech. 

ANSES reserves the right to exclude any person who does not comply with the above operating rules.

The travel expenses of association representatives based outside Paris may be reimbursed.

This Committee is coordinated and managed by Régine Fraysse-Boutrais, who is responsible for openness to society within ANSES's Social Sciences, Expertise & Society Unit (MiSSES).