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The toxicology expertise of IVTD finds application in both the development of analytical methods and research on the safety of consumer products though multiple doctoral projects in collaboration with Belgium’s institute of public health, Sciensano. These high profile topics generate valuable information about consumer safety associated with common products to the greater public.

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GENOMARK: a human genomic biomarker RTqPCR array for optimised and mechanistically-based genotoxicity assessment

Project led by Tamara Vanhaecke, Vera Rogiers and Birgit Mertens

Changes in genetic material induced by DNA-damaging substances are of major concern for human health, since they are associated with serious adverse health effects including cancer, reproductive impairment, developmental anomalies and genetic diseases. Consequently, predictive testing of the genotoxic potential of new chemical and biological compounds (e.g. pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cosmetic ingredients, food additives) is required. The GENOMARK PCR array is a new test method that improves on existing in vitro genotoxicity testing.

Genotoxic substances in printed paper and board food contact materials: A prioritisation strategy based on non-animal methods

Project led by Tamara Vanhaecke, Vera Rogiers and Birgit Mertens

Printed paper and board materials that come into contact with our food and drinks are widely used: daily life examples include paper lunch bags, coffee cups, food labels (e.g. on fruit) and cardboard packaging boxes (e.g. for milk, juice, rice, cereals). Although unintentionally, trace amounts of these materials can end up in the food/beverages and in the worst case lead to negative human health effects such as cancer. The PRIMISTRA project aims to detect potential carcinogenic chemicals present in these food contact materials.

e-CIGARETTES: Characterisation and risk evaluation of electronic cigarettes and related products

Project led by Tamara Vanhaecke, Vera Rogiers, Birgit Mertens and Eric Deconinck 

While the use of e-cigarettes remains popular, the potential health risks remain unclear. At the political level, e-cigarettes remain subject to many discussion; there is no consensus or standardisation of methods for different quality assessments. Moreover, only sparse data on the chemical composition of e-liquids and their safety is available. All these factors contribute to the lack of a scientifically-based legislation and the fact that e-cigarettes are freely available, even though they could imply a potential risk to human health. The project determined the complete chemical composition of e-cigarette liquids and the vapour inhaled during consumption and tested the liquids and their vapours for potential mutagenicity/genotoxicity

Safety assessment of feminine intimate products

Project led by Tamara Vanhaecke and Bart Desmedt

Feminine intimate products (FIPs) include hygienic consumer products such as tampons, sanitary napkins and menstrual cups but also Kegel-exercise devices. Currently in the EU, FIPs are not subject to any specific safety requirements imposed by the EU legislation. We are currently evaluating if hazardous substances can be released by these products and harm its users. 



As members of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) IVTD’s Tamara Vanhaecke and Vera Rogiers are engaged in providing Opinions on the safety of non-food consumer products (e.g. cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products) and services (e.g. tattooing, artificial sun tanning). The Commission relies on this independent Scientific Committee to provide scientific expertise and advice and to identify new and emerging consumer safety problems, to be considered in the preparation of policy and proposals related to consumer safety, health and the environment.