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La Recherchev2

Programmes de recherche

Avis du conseil scientifique ENVIRHOM, du 17 novembre 2003



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Observations Overall programme

The committee appreciated the unique programme which seems to achieve its goal and is well managed.

The committee appreciated the fact that this programme covers comprehensively many different aspects of the risks linked with radionuclides : chemical speciation, chemical and radiological effects, chronic effects at different levels of biological organisation.

Lots of data have already been generated and significant results have been obtained.

In retrospect the committee confirms the interest of the approach focusing on one element, on chronic versus acute exposures, on internal contamination, and on the attempt to integrate effects across levels of biological organization. The challenge will be to move forward without the project being unmanageable.


The committee congratulates the participants for the very good documentation they provided and the very professional presentations that were made. The use of English was of a very good standard which made all the presentations highly understandable.

Recommendations Overall programme

The relation with other programmes dealing with low doses needs to be addressed. Named contact points with US and UK depleted uranium programmes are needed to ensure information flow.

The programme should continue to maintain focus on ENVIRHOM project objectives within a diverse programme at several sites using many techniques. Regular progress meetings should be arranged frequently. The programme seems to be well managed, but the committee would like to be informed on how it is co-ordinated by means of operational networks.

Such a programme uses a lot of statistics and modelling as well as chemical and biological innovative tools. It seems useful to share a common understanding of those methods and thus a small team reporting directly to the management team would be something to consider. This team should also take care of a common data management system.

Care should be taken on the need for a clear definition of where the end points are and how decisions are made to carry on.

Linkage to IRCP reference animals and plants should be clearly established.

Statistical analyses and modelling

Numerical issues of statistics, modelling and dosimetry need to be properly addressed. The issue needs to be addressed quickly.

Speciation modelling

The committee apreciates the approach of speciation of this programme and especially the modelling approach, taking into account uncertainties. It recommends to extend the study to include the issue of complexation with organic substances, when relevant to the objectives of the programme, and the issue of oxydation status of the studied elements.

Fate of radionucleides within the human body

The applicability of the ICRP model relative to rodent data may be questioned. The use of a more sophisticated toxico-kinetic model is recommended. Cooperations with a team involved in such modelling would be welcomed, especially those performing physiology based toxico kinetic modelling.

Effects assessment

A huge set of different end-point has been presented by the teams involved in the two parts of the project. Although animal welfare rules recommend to measure as many parameters as possible for each test, some sorting seems necessary. Modelling of the effects should also be engaged as soon as possible in order to get a relevant strategy for the interpretation of data.


The committee would like to suggest that more emphasis is given on radiological aspects. Microdosimetry will be a challenging issue and the programme needs to avoid the problems associated with it.


Overall the committee is unanimously impressed by the programme and encourage that it be continued. This programme seems to fit a gap in a global need.

The committee suggests that the periodic review should occur every 18 months. The quality of feedback would be improved if the committee had more time to meet.