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Brussels, 3 March 2004

Commission reorganises its non-food scientific advisory committees

Following the creation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the transfer to the Authority of responsibilities for risk assessment on food-related issues, previously carried out by some of the scientific committees, the Commission has reviewed and refocused the work of its three remaining non-food scientific committees. The Commission therefore adopted today a decision to create three new committees: a Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP), a Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) and a Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). An announcement inviting scientists to apply for membership of these committees will shortly be published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will also be available on the internet at: Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne stressed that applications from scientists of countries acceding to the EU on 1 May are welcomed.

Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne said: "The EU needs high quality independent scientists. Scientific risk assessment is at the heart of the EU's health and consumer protection policies. The European Union can only protect the health of its citizens when we know what the real risks are and what can be done to manage those risks. Obtaining the best scientific advice available is an absolute priority for me. The reorganised committees will provide the EU with a more proactive and flexible approach to risk assessment. The restructuring will also ensure appropriate cooperation and coordination between these committees and other Community bodies responsible for scientific advice such as the European Food Safety Authority , the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products and the future European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control."

The three new Scientific Committees

    The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP)

The SCCP will advise on questions related to the safety of consumer products (other than food). Examples of the type of issues to be examined include the safety and allergenic properties of cosmetic products and issues relating to the safety of toys, textiles, clothing, domestic products, and consumer services such as tattooing. The SCCP will consist of 19 members.

    The Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER)

This committee will examine issues relating to the toxicity and ecotoxicity of chemical, biochemical and biological compounds whose use may have harmful consequences for human health and the environment. The SCHER will have 19 members.

    The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health risks (SCENIHR)

The SCENIHR will advise on emerging or newly identified risks and on broad issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of risks to consumer safety or public health. It will also give an opinion on human health issues not covered by other EU risk assessment bodies. Examples of the type of issues it might examine are antimicrobial resistance, new technologies such as nano-technologies, medical devices including those incorporating substances of animal and/or human origin, tissue engineering, physical hazards such as noise and electromagnetic fields (from mobile phones, transmitters and electronically controlled home environments), and methodologies for assessing new risks. The SCENIHR will have 13 members and will be able to call up to six associated members for specific questions.

The committees they replace

The new committees replace the Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food products intended for Consumers, the Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment and the Scientific Committee on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices. These committees were created in 1997 along with five scientific committees advising on food safety and animal health issues (see: IP/97/947). The work of these latter committees was taken over by the European Food Safety Authority in May 2003.

Open call for scientific experts

Following the call announced above, the Commission will select committee members on the basis of scientific excellence. Candidates who have met the requirements for membership but who are not nominated, will be invited to be included in a reserve list which will be published. The list will be used to identify associated members for the SCENIHR and to replace a member who is unable to continue.

Further information

For further information on the Commission's risk assessment activities see:

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