Q&A Science & regulation

Are the studies made by industry really reliable?

When speaking of the science behind chemicals safety, people often wonder if studies conducted by industry are to be trusted or not. It’s a valid question, because of the financial interests of the industry to have its products authorized to be placed on the market. This point is taken seriously by the authorities:

 

  • Studies financed by the industries have to be conducted by accredited laboratories. These laboratories are controlled regularly to be sure that they respect Good Laboratory Practices. If it doesn’t, a laboratory can lose its accreditation and then its clients.
  • The scientific methodologies used by the laboratories are strictly defined by international bodies like the OECD, ECHA… A set of studies must be conducted for each risk under a defined protocol to evaluate each potential toxicological impact. The respect of these rules is mandatory in order to put a product on the market.
  • The regulatory studies (raw data, results, interpretations and complete methodology) are officially reviewed by independent experts’ panels commissioned by the European authorities, in collaboration with the national safety authorities.
  • All the available research, be it public or private, is taken into account in the evaluation process. If contradictory results do not allow a conclusion to be reached, the authorities have the possibility to ask for new studies and to suspend the authorization process. Likewise if new scientific data raise serious questions about the safety of a product, it can be removed from the market.

 

But most important, developing and testing a single new product/substance is an extremely long and expensive process. Therefore, companies have zero interest in investing on a product/substance which will not pass the authorization process, or which could be rapidly removed from the market.

 

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