An academic researcher’s guide to increased impact on regulatory assessment of chemicals
The interactions between academic research and regulatory assessment of chemicals may in theory seem straightforward: researchers perform studies, and these studies are used by regulators for decision-making. However, in practice the situation is more complex, and many factors decide a research study’s regulatory use. According to several EU chemical legislations, all available and relevant studies can be used in hazard and risk assessment of chemicals. However, in practice, standard tests conducted under GLP and sponsored and provided by industry are predominantly used. Peer-reviewed studies from independent sources are often disregarded or disputed since they often do not comply with regulatory data requirements and quality criteria. There are several possible reasons for this, one being that academic research is reported in a way that does not fit the regulatory requirements. To help bridge such a gap, the aim of this paper is to give an overview of the general workings of chemicals legislation and propose a set of actions to increase the usability of research data. In the end, this may increase the use of academic research for decision-making and ultimately result in more science-based policies. From a policy perspective, useful scientific evidence are those studies that are sufficiently reliable and relevant. This is not in contradiction to the aims of research and generally accepted scientific standards.