An accurate and precise assessment of human health risk is a cornerstone of an effective response strategy and prevention policy. European harmonisation of exposure-response guidelines is ongoing. To facilitate cross-border cooperation in chemical incident management, the EU co-funded project CERACI (Cross-border Exposure characterisation for Risk Assessment in Chemical Incidents) contributes to the interoperability of exposure assessment guidelines, tools and practices.Funding and Project partnersThe CERACI project was co-funded by the EU, Civil Protection Financial Instrument, Grant Agreement No. 070401/2010/579055/SUB/C4 The project partners are:
Objectives of CERACIThe aim of the CERACI (Cross-border Exposure characterisation for Risk Assessment in Chemical Incidents) project was to strengthen the public health risk assessment for the acute phase of chemical incidents by improving exposure assessment. The outcome contributes to improving planning, preparedness and response capabilities and enhance transnational cooperation and interoperability of organisations involved in health risk assessment.The CERACI objectives were to improve acute phase chemical incident exposure assessment by:
CERACI outputsThe main outputs of CERACI are:
The CERACI project comprised (a.o.) a literature review, a web based survey and two international workshops.Literature review and network of expertsA review of targeted literature sources has led to a preliminary understanding of exposure assessment capability, capacity and organisation during the acute phase of chemical incidents. The review has broadly identified key organisations and agencies across Member States involved in exposure assessment and the health risk characterisation processes during chemical incidents. A range of EU initiatives, arrangements and cross-border agreements are highlighted in the review. The report of the Literature review can be found in Appendix B of the CERACI Final Report.A paper discussing this information gathering phase of the project, has been published in the Chemical Hazards and Poisons Report from the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards of the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Web-based surveyBuilding on the literature review, a web-based survey was conducted in 2011 to identify exposure assessment capabilities and best practices for chemical incident response in Member States. Experts from 26 Member States completed the survey. The report of the Web-based survey can be found in Appendix C of the CERACI Final Report.WorkshopsEuropean experts on exposure assessment were invited to workshops to share their experience and good practices on the exposure assessment of chemical incidents, in particular cross-border incidents. These workshops were held in Amsterdam and Warsaw, in Spring 2012.A wide range of experts, covering many aspects of exposure assessment and representing various organisations, such as public health and fire and rescue services, participated in the workshops. Using exercise incident scenarios, the workshops identified and explored good practices and gaps across the EU in exposure assessment in cross-border chemical incidents, which were termed ‘unmet needs’. Sharing good practices was deemed a fruitful exercise, enabling delegates to learn from each other and to identify possible gaps in their own country’s approach to exposure assessment. Furthermore, delegates discussed the concept of local, national and international networks of experts in exposure assessment and agreed that there was a need for cross-European coordination of work in this area. The report of the Workshops can be found in Appendix D of the CERACI Final Report.
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