Colloque « Les Vilmorin, Des Graines & des Hommes »

« Installés à Verrières-le-Buisson en 1815, les Vilmorin ont imprégné les milieux agricoles et horticoles de leur savoir-faire en matière d’introduction et de gestion de la biodiversité, ils ont jeté les bases d’une sélection végétale raisonnée et d’une organisation professionnelle moderne.

Côtoyant les plus grands scientifiques de leurs générations, ils ont créé des ponts entre la recherche et ses applications.
Membres actifs et fidèles des sociétés nationales d’agriculture et d’horticulture, communicateurs innovants, grands semenciers de renommée mondiale, ils ont ouvert la voie de traditions françaises à préserver. C’est ce patrimoine national que nous nous proposons de présenter. »




SNHF – 84 rue de Grenelle 75007 Paris

Présentation :

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Member States Discuss DEHP, HBCDD and Lead Chromate Authorisation

« Discussions at the EU REACH Committee meeting last week on authorisation applications for several substances centred on the length of their review periods and their scope.

The first discussion addressed the applications from three recycling firms to permit the recycling of PVC containing the phthalate DEHP. Some member states said the proposed seven-year review period should be shortened, and that it would be more logical to discuss the applications at the same time as those from Arkema, ZAK and Deza, which applied for DEHP’s continued use in the formulation and use in production of PVC products.

But at least one member state argued that it would “send a bad signal” if the committee overruled the opinions of Echa’s Socio-economic Analysis Committee (Seac) and Risk Assessment Committee (Rac) on the recycling firms’ applications.

The REACH Committee also discussed applications for so-called “bridging” authorisations from a number of companies – including Ineos Styrenics – to use the brominated flame retardant HBCDD in expanded polystyrene (EPS) pellets and in EPS building insulation. Although Rac and Seac have adopted Opinions on these, some member states continue to argue that the applications should not be granted. The committee expects to vote on the applications at its next meeting on 21-22 October.

Discussions were also held on applications from DCC Maastricht for various uses of lead chromate pigments. These are opposed by Cepe, the trade body representing the European paints industry. It says that alternatives are already widely available. No date was agreed for taking a vote.

Three environmental groups – WCEF, Wemos and PAN Europe – wrote to Dutch environment minister Stas Mansveld urging her to oppose the granting of authorisations for any of the DEHP, HBCDD and lead chromate applications. »

Sources :
Article by Geraint Roberts
Rac/Seac adopted opinions on authorisation applications :
NGOs letter :

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ChemSec Updates Tool For Finding Structurally Similar Chemicals

« The International Chemical Secretariat, ChemSec, has updated its SINimilarity tool.
The tool is free and was set up to identify substances that are structurally similar to substances on the organisation’s Substitute it Now (SIN) list .

These are hazardous chemicals it wants to see phased out because of their toxic properties.
And ChemSec says the updated version will « empower non-chemists who previously had to rely solely on the information provided by their chemical suppliers. »

The number of chemicals that can be investigated by name, Cas number, EC number or structure has been increased from 80,000 to almost 500,000. It is also possible to search for a chemical by entering its SMILES code (simplified molecular input line entry specification), a chemical notation system used to represent a molecular structure by a linear string of symbols.

At the same time the SIN List has also been updated.

Fourteen substances have been added. These include substances:

• recently identified as fulfilling substance of very high concern (SVHC) criteria through official identification and classification;

• previously classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or repotroxic (CMRs) that have recently been fully registered, illustrating a consumer relevant use of the chemical;

• substances recently classified as CMR. »

ChemSec announcement :

SINimilarity tool :
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Sustainable Chemistry Ready For Global Consideration, Says UNEP

« German-based international centre to open in 2017
The concept of ‘sustainable chemistry’ is now established enough to receive international attention and consideration, says Achim Halpaap, the UN Environment Programme’s (Unep) new head of chemicals and waste branch.
Speaking at a conference in Berlin last week, Mr Halpaap said the increase in examples of the commercial introduction of sustainable chemicals and chemical processes into supply chains shows it is “ready to take to the global community”.
The European Roundtable on Sustainable Chemistry was organised by Germany’s federal environment ministry (BMUB) and environment agency (UBA).

Mr Halpaap said if the implementation of sustainable chemistry is to be successful globally, it must involve decision makers, researchers and practitioners from developing countries. He suggested a follow up conference, focused more on inviting, informing and fully engaging those from developing countries.

However, it is important, he said, to ensure all countries “implement the basics” of chemical management, alongside pursuing sustainable chemistry programmes.
“We still have many countries in the world that have not implemented legislation on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), or that don’t have the capacity to use and understand material safety data sheets,” he said.

The OECD’s widely accepted definition of sustainable chemistry was the basis for the conference’s discussions: a scientific concept that seeks to improve the efficiency with which natural resources are used to meet human needs for chemical products and services.

“Sustainable chemistry encompasses the design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes,” the definition continues.

The BMUB and UBA are setting up an International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) .Its aim is to encourage the exchange of information, as well as identify links between chemicals management and sustainable development, by bringing together a network of:

• international researchers;
• enterprises;
• associations; and
• institutions.

The centre will be built in Germany and is due to open in early 2017. »

Article by Leigh Stringer
OECD definition :
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Global PFC Group Addresses Best Practice and Inventory

« The OECD and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have published a report assessing different approaches taken to control per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).

The substances are used as ingredients, or intermediates, of surfactants and surface protectors for a wide range of industrial and consumer applications, but are in the process of being replaced because of their ability to persist and bioaccumulate.

With information from 15 countries, the report from the Global Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFC) group – Good Practices and Options to Support Shared Challenges in the Development and Implementation of PFAS Risk Reduction Approaches – aims to provide a snapshot of current activities and inform other countries about options they might take.

It has been presented at the fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management – which is currently underway in Geneva. The group is also presenting options for a global emission inventory for PFASs at ICCM4.

It says:

• the OECD 2007 list of 920 should be updated;
• their global production, use and release should be surveyed and the results made public; and
• synergies between stakeholders should be made, along with links between existing programmes. »

Report :
Inventory proposal :
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ICCA Says EDC Safe Exposure Levels Should be Accepted

« Global chemical industry body: ‘rigorous reviews’ have failed to prove low level effects hypothesis.
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) says there should be acceptance that “safe levels of exposure” can be set for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Issuing a set of 11 principles for identifying EDCs on the first day of ICCM4 – a major UN chemicals conference in Geneva – it said that thorough examination can identify safe exposure levels.

EDCs is one of the « emerging issues » addressed by the UN’s main chemcials initiative, the voluntary Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Saicm). A Resolution on EDCs has been proposed for adoption at ICCM4, and the ICCA has already said it will oppose any Resolution that seeks to list potential EDCs.

The key ICCA principle says: “The suggestion that low levels of exposure can cause harmful effects that are not adequately captured by traditional toxicological studies is often discussed, but rigorous reviews by scientists at regulatory agencies have been unable to validate the hypothesis, so changes to current testing and safety assessment approaches are not warranted.”

The science does not back up the theories around low dose exposure and non monotonic dose response of EDCs, says the association. “The US EPA and the European Food and Safety Authority have thoroughly examined this and they have not been able to replicate the same health outcomes,” said spokeswoman Anne Womack Kolton.

Until the evidence shows the need to change the way risks and hazards are assessed, she said, “there should be acceptance that you can have a safe level of exposure and you can manage that risk just as you would any other chemicals.”

Low level effects

But some scientists at ICCM4 disagreed. Professor Leonardo Trasande of the New York University (NYU) school of medicine said the lowest levels of exposure appear to pose the greatest increment in health effects. Professor Trasande led studies for international scientific organisation, the Endocrine Society, which concluded, earlier this year, that exposure to EDCs in the EU has an annual price tag of at least €157bn.

To prove a safe level of exposure, he said, laboratory studies and ongoing monitoring of human exposure are required. “We need to take an evidence-based approach that proves innocence [of a chemical] in contrast to what currently occurs, which is a dangerous and unnatural experiment on human health”.
He said that this should be to “actively test chemicals for potential health hazards”, with a focus on lowest levels of exposure.

This “should take a rigorous and broad approach that includes developing organ systems and endocrine systems, in particular”. He added that the present regulatory framework does not require that level of testing “anywhere in the world” but said that the EU is moving in this direction.

Publishing a review of EDCs science on Monday, the Endocrine Society said the evidence that some chemicals disrupt hormones in a way that causes a range of serious health problems has become more compelling.
However, in response, the American Chemistry Council, a member of the ICCA, said the review “incorrectly characterises as settled, the still-unproven hypothesis regarding risks of low levels of exposure to particular chemicals”.

It also said the review failed to differentiate between chemicals that are “endocrine-active”, meaning they interact with the endocrine system, and those that are “endocrine disruptors” – those where the levels of exposure associated with an interaction cause scientifically proven adverse health effects. « 

Article by Leigh Stringer
ICCA principles :

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New Working Group To Address Petroleum And Coal Stream Substances

« On 10 and 11 September, representatives from the Member States, the European Commission and stakeholder organisations met for the first time to discuss how to progress on petroleum and coal stream substances.


A set of 65 substances with uses by consumers and at professional settings were given the highest priority for further work in order to focus on substances that matter the most for human health and the environment.

The group agreed on actions to better understand the hazards of these substances and the need for potential regulatory action.

The work is part of the Roadmap for substances of very high concern and implementation of REACH risk management measures. »

SVHC Roadmap to 2020 :

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