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One planet: one health. A call to support the initiative on a global science–policy body on chemicals and waste
The chemical pollution crisis severely threatens human and environmental health globally. To tackle this challenge the establishment of an overarching international science–policy body has recently been suggested. We strongly support this initiative based on the awareness that humanity has already likely left the safe operating space within planetary boundaries for novel entities including chemical pollution. Immediate action is essential and needs to be informed by sound scientific knowledge and data compiled and critically evaluated by an overarching science–policy interface body. Major challenges for such a body are (i) to foster global knowledge production on exposure, impacts and governance going beyond data-rich regions (e.g., Europe and North America), (ii) to cover the entirety of hazardous chemicals, mixtures and wastes, (iii) to follow a one-health perspective considering the risks posed by chemicals and waste on ecosystem and human health, and (iv) to strive for solution-oriented assessments based on systems thinking. Based on multiple evidence on urgent action on a global scale, we call scientists and practitioners to mobilize their scientific networks and to intensify science–policy interaction with national governments to support the negotiations on the establishment of an intergovernmental body based on scientific knowledge explaining the anticipated benefit for human and environmental health.
Zurich statement on future actions on per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are man-made chemicals that contain at least one perfluoroalkyl moiety, –CnF2n–. To date, over 4,000 unique PFASs have been used in technical applications and consumer products, and some of them have been detected globally in human and wildlife biomonitoring studies. Because of their extraordinary persistence, human and environmental exposure to PFASs will be a long-term source of concern. Some PFASs such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) have been investigated extensively and thus regulated, but for many other PFASs, knowledge about their current uses and hazards is still very limited or missing entirely. To address this problem and prepare an action plan for the assessment and management of PFASs in the coming years, a group of more than 50 international scientists and regulators held a two-day workshop in November, 2017. The group identified both the respective needs of and common goals shared by the scientific and the policy communities, made recommendations for cooperative actions, and outlined how the science–policy interface regarding PFASs can be strengthened using new approaches for assessing and managing highly persistent chemicals such as PFASs.