Vol. 23, No. 4
Research Initiative (LRI) of the American Chemistry Council
Carol J. Henry and James S. Bus
Development of the Long-Range Research Initiative
Technical Implementation Panels
Selected Examples of Ongoing Projects
In January 1999, the chemical industry committed over $100 million
for a five-year period to sponsor health and environmental research
related to chemical use. The Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) is
a visionary program of the American Chemistry Council designed to increase
knowledge about the potential and actual effects of chemicals on the
health of human and wildlife populations and on the environment. The
objectives of the LRI are to conduct new research through prominent
scientific institutions; develop new testing and screening tools to
support risk assessment; and support informed decision- making by government,
industry, and citizens. CIIT will conduct much of the LRI research in
its areas of expertise - chemical carcinogenesis; endocrine, reproductive,
and developmental toxicology; neurotoxicology; and respiratory toxicology.
In January 1999, the Board of Directors of the American Chemistry Council
approved the LRI, which committed over $100 million for the next five
years to sponsor research on the health and environmental effects of
chemical use. The LRI represents an expanded commitment to Responsible
Care ® , the industrys voluntary continuous improvement initiative
in health, safety, and environmental performance. The American Chemistry
Council research initiative builds on the foundation of and approach
to research conducted at CIIT. Research supported by the LRI will advance
knowledge about the health, safety, and environmental effects of products
and processes. The LRI has a number of functions:
- identifying emerging health and environmental issues
- aligning industry research efforts with public priorities
- developing improved risk assessment methods to support informed
- participating in global processes to demonstrate that the chemical
industry is a partner in solving health and environmental problems
- reducing uncertainty in risk assessment and improving risk-based
- reinforcing the industry commitment to openly providing information
about chemicals and potential health and environmental effects
- establishing a leadership position through proactive research
Development of the Long-Range Research Initiative
Members of the Chemical Manufacturers Association voted in June 2000
to change the name of the organization to the American Chemistry Council
to reflect the significant business changes occurring in industry. Among
these changes in industry are expanded commitments to research and testing;
improved performance in environment, health, and safety; and innovations
in outreach, dialogue, and advocacy. Within the last two years, the
industry has demonstrated this commitment in several ways.
We have worked with the not-for-profit environmental advocacy organization
Environmental Defense and the United States Environmental Protection
Agency (U.S. EPA) to create a high-production-volume (HPV) testing program
that will result in the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars
to conduct screening tests and to make the resulting data fully available
to the public. A similar program implemented by industry at the global
level will go one step further and provide initial hazard assessments
for 1 000 HPV chemicals by 2004. We have created the Long-Range Research
Initiative (LRI), which strengthens industrys commitment to Responsible
Care. We celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the award-winning Responsible
Care initia tive and made a commitment to continuous progress toward
the vision of "no accidents, injuries, or harm to the environment."
The industry has also expanded joint advocacy efforts with environmental
groups on such issues as endocrine modulation.
The LRI is an expanded commitment drawing directly from Responsible
Care that is designed to increase knowledge of the potential effects
of chemicals on the health of human and wildlife populations and on
the environment. LRI goals are to conduct research through CIIT and
other prominent institutions; to develop new testing and screening tools
to support risk assessment; and to support informed decision-making
by government, industry, and citizens. For almost 25 years, 30-40 companies
from the chemical industry have supported CIIT. Through the LRI, support
for CIIT is being enhanced and consolidated into sponsorship by the
entire membership of nearly 200 companies of the American Chemistry
Council. Approximately 60% of funds from the LRI will be used to support
the research at CIIT.
Table 1 Some of the strategic questions
underlying the Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI).
children more susceptible to given chemical exposures and effects
than adults,thereby necessitating greater chemical control measures?
models or methods can be developed to assess human and environmental
exposures to chemicals more accurately?
animal models or test methods are most relevant for predicting
effects on human health from exposures to chemicals?
the high-dose effects seen in animal studies relevant to people
who are exposed to low doses?
do we incorporate new scientific advances into our understanding
of the potential effects that chemicals may have on humans and
do we reduce the scientific uncertainties that can lead to overly
risk assessment processes can be developed that would be more
readily understood and trusted by the public?
The LRI was developed from a pilot program called
the State of the Science Study that was conducted in 1997 (described
in "The Chemical Industrys Research Initiative and the State of
the Science Study," CIIT Activities, 1-6 June 1998). Research priorities
were identified in the State of the Science White Papers published in
January 1998 by the Chemical Manufacturers Association (now the American
Chemistry Council) and CIIT. This document was produced through a collaborative
effort with scientists from government, academia, and industry. The
strategic questions identified by these diverse collaborators underlie
the LRI (Table 1). LRI funding for fiscal year 2000 by scientific area
is shown in Figure 1.
This article was contributed
by Dr. Carol J. Henry (American Chemistry Council, Arlington, Virginia,
USA) and Dr. James S. Bus (The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Michigan,
USA). This article was originally published in CIIT Activities, Vol.
20, No. 7, pp. 1-5, 2000, and is reprinted with permission from the
CIIT Centers for Health Research (formerly the Chemical Industry Institute