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Economic activity generates wealth but can have an adverse impact on the environment and on human health. It can create waste, pollution and excessive noise. It brings the risk of accidents involving hazardous substances. RIVM helps to protect health and the environment through constant monitoring. We identify and evaluate potential risks, and we formulate appropriate responses.
RIVM supports the government in the development and implementation of policy intended to maintain a safe and healthy environment. We monitor the quality of air, water, soil and the interior climate. We investigate how exposure to toxic substances affects human health and ecosystems. Our measurements, calculations, trend analyses and risk assessments reveal the impact of radiation, chemicals, noise and genetically modified organisms on health and on the quality of the environment. They also reveal the potential effects of policy measures. Increasingly, complex environmental issues demand an integrated approach. Alongside the traditional risk assessments, there must be frameworks which allow decision-makers to strike an appropriate balance between the interests of health, safety, economic prosperity and social well-being. One specific challenge is to find ways in which the scarce space in the Netherlands can best be used for the various essential functions: housing, recreation, industry, agriculture, and nature conservation.
Environmental problems are not confined to any one country and policy is increasingly being developed at the international level. RIVM is therefore actively involved in various international research programmes and consultation bodies.
RIVM has extensive expertise in environmental
management and safety, and has access to advanced models and
state-of-the-art (mobile) measuring instruments. We are therefore
able to play a key role in responding to environmental incidents
and disasters, providing all necessary assistance to the government
and partner organizations.