15 March 2017

Paul Scheepers, dept for Health Evidence, was appointed by DG SANTE as risk assessment expert to support the European Commission in the case of serious cross-border chemical health threats.

This task is performed in the context of decision 1082/2013/EU to respond to incidents or alerts of serious cross-border health threats. When a coordinated response at EU level is required, the Commission involve experts to prepare an assessment of the severity of the public health threat, including possible public health measures. These incidents may include both manmade and naturally occurring events. It is also possible that the EU deploys experts in such incidents outside the EU on request of one of the EU member states. This occurred on request of France in the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Paul Scheepers will contribute to preparing ad hoc rapid risk assessments in collaboration with field officers deployed on location. For this task he was trained in November last year and in March this year he will receive further. He has prior experience as public health advisor hazardous materials (GAGS) for five safety regions in the South of The Netherlands since 2007. In 2012 he contributed to establish a national guidance on human biological monitoring following chemical incidents and published two scientific papers on this subject. He supported the use of biomonitoring in response to a train incident on May 4th 2013 in Wetteren near Ghent in Belgium. This incident resulted in 33 injuries, 1 fatality and exposure of thousands of inhabitants and hundreds of first responders to acrylonitrile. In 2014 he edited a special issue of Toxicology Letters on the application of biomonitoring in response to chemical incidents.

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