In an article published on January 14, 2019, the European Commission’s (EC) Health and Food Safety Directorate General (DG SANTE) announced the publication of a statement and a position paper on emerging health and environmental issues. Both documents were developed by the EC’s Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER). The SCHEER’s statement “draws the Commission Services’ attention to 14 emerging issues in the non-food area that Committee members have identified as having a potential impact on human health and/or the environment in the future.” Included in these issues are chemicals in recycled materials, per- and polyfluorinated substances, and micro- and nanoplastic in the environment.

In the SCHEER position paper, two approaches are discussed regarding the early identification of emerging issues. One is a “proactive approach based on the committee’s brainstorming sessions, held to identify emerging issues, characterize their development and prioritize them,” whereas the other is a “more reactive approach based on the prior identification of indicators of change and the monitoring of these to detect emerging issues.” The paper states that SCHEER has chosen to make use of the proactive approach and agreed on a procedure for applying it. When an emerging issue is identified through this approach, the paper notes that “the decision to take appropriate action and/or to investigate possible risks related to these issues lies with the European Commission.”

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European Commission (January 11, 2019). “Commission publishes Statement and Position Paper on Emerging Health and Environmental Issues.”

NIA (January 18, 2019). “EC SCHEER publishes a statement on emerging issues including nano aspects.


SCHEER (December 20, 2018). “Statement on emerging health and environmental issues (2018).” (pdf)

SCHEER (June 6, 2018). “Emerging Issues and the Role of the SCHEER Position Paper (2018).” (pdf)