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Paul Scheepers, toxicologist and associate professor at the Department for Health Evidence.

Where were you born?
Beltrum (near Eibergen) just across the street of a windmill with a workshop for wooden shoes. The family business still exists (Nijhuis) and moved to another location in the same village. Afterwards I lived in Groenlo, Apeldoorn, Wageningen, Delft, Haarlem and Umeå (Sweden)

Where do you live and with whom?
My partner Nikolien and me live in Alverna (close to Wijchen). Our three grown-up kids left home to study and they left us with one cat, one rabbit, five geese (to take care of, thank you).

Who was your role model when you were a kid?
Paulus de Boskabouter. Later I found out he had an otter friend called Radboud. www.paulusdeboskabouter.net (for other fans)

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)
In my free time I do pretty much the same as him and start to look like him as well, except for growing a beard.

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?
Participation in IARC working group on diesel exhaust in 2012. Working day and night for a week to classify diesel engine exhaust emissions as a risk factor for lung cancer. Most of my PhD work and later project work was cited to support this conclusion.
Outside my work I could determine almost every species of singing bird in the Netherlands (not sure if I can still can). That is how I ended up in Wageningen (they needed someone there who could do that).

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?
Contribute to safe and sustainable use of chemicals.

For what can we wake you up?
If I take it literally: for a chemical incident/emergency (only when my pager starts beeping). This makes me pretty much awake. After taking care of that and mostly by the end of the day you can ‘wake me up’ for an IPA beer.

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?
Riding a bike the French call a vélo couché. You can find it on French Wikipedia.

What is your biggest irritation?
Colleague toxicologists who mix up ‘hazard’ with ‘risk’ in the media. Some of them also use the precautionary principle to kill a decent scientific debate (mostly the same people).

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?
My kids, and sometimes they do turn up for a decent dinner (my wife is an excellent cook, not me).


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