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General approaches to the risk assessment of chemicals

Abstract

In the context of the UNCED 92 'Earth Summit' in Rio, the following definition of chemical risk assessment has been developed: 'Chemical risk assessment is a scientific process that identifies and quantifies the potential adverse effects on human health or ecosystems of defined exposures to chemical substances, to mixtures that include chemicals, or to chemically hazardous processes or situations. Risk itself is the probability of the occurrence of a defined adverse effect in a defined group and in defined circumstances'. I would not be so impertinent as to try and improve upon a definition that has the tacit endorsement of the majority of world-leaders. Furthermore, I consider that too many man-years have been spent discussing this topic. Thankfully the UNCED definition recognises chemical risk assessment as being a process and not some immutable physical law. In this presentation I will attempt to explain some of the details and mechanisms of that process but first of all it is worthwhile to spend a few moments putting chemical risk assessment in its proper context and asking the simple question: why do we want/need to assess the potential risk of chemicals?. In general terms, chemicals risk assessment is carried out in order to  More>>
Authors:
Murphy, Patrick [1] 
  1. Commission of the European Communities, Directorate General XI, Environment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection (Belgium)
Publication Date:
Jul 01, 1992
Product Type:
Conference
Report Number:
INIS-XA-N-030
Resource Relation:
Conference: 1992 international conference on risk assessment, London (United Kingdom), 5-9 Oct 1992; Other Information: 6 refs, 6 figs; PBD: 1992; Related Information: In: Risk assessment, session 1-4. International conference 1992. Part 1, 248 pages.
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; CHEMICAL INDUSTRY; CHEMICAL WASTES; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY; OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE; OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY; PUBLIC HEALTH; RADIATION HAZARDS; RADIATION PROTECTION; RADIOECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; RADIOECOLOGY; RISK ASSESSMENT; WORKING CONDITIONS
OSTI ID:
20577150
Research Organizations:
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (United Kingdom)
Country of Origin:
IAEA
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
TRN: XA04N0315028687
Availability:
Available from INIS in electronic form
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
page(s) 140-152
Announcement Date:
Apr 17, 2005

Citation Formats

Murphy, Patrick. General approaches to the risk assessment of chemicals. IAEA: N. p., 1992. Web.
Murphy, Patrick. General approaches to the risk assessment of chemicals. IAEA.
Murphy, Patrick. 1992. "General approaches to the risk assessment of chemicals." IAEA.
@misc{etde_20577150,
title = {General approaches to the risk assessment of chemicals}
author = {Murphy, Patrick}
abstractNote = {In the context of the UNCED 92 'Earth Summit' in Rio, the following definition of chemical risk assessment has been developed: 'Chemical risk assessment is a scientific process that identifies and quantifies the potential adverse effects on human health or ecosystems of defined exposures to chemical substances, to mixtures that include chemicals, or to chemically hazardous processes or situations. Risk itself is the probability of the occurrence of a defined adverse effect in a defined group and in defined circumstances'. I would not be so impertinent as to try and improve upon a definition that has the tacit endorsement of the majority of world-leaders. Furthermore, I consider that too many man-years have been spent discussing this topic. Thankfully the UNCED definition recognises chemical risk assessment as being a process and not some immutable physical law. In this presentation I will attempt to explain some of the details and mechanisms of that process but first of all it is worthwhile to spend a few moments putting chemical risk assessment in its proper context and asking the simple question: why do we want/need to assess the potential risk of chemicals?. In general terms, chemicals risk assessment is carried out in order to ensure that neither man (consumer/worker/general public) nor the environment are exposed to unacceptable risks arising from the production, use and disposal of chemicals. At a national and/or international level, risk assessments are performed by the regulatory authorities before they accept notification dossiers (e.g. new industrial chemicals) or grant authorizations (e.g. pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cosmetics, food additives). At the local level, plant-operators must carry out risk assessments to ensure that in the particular circumstances of their factory the workers are adequately protected and that satisfactory accident prevention and contingency plans are prepared. Similarly, local authorities must carry out risk assessments before deciding upon the granting of permits for landfill sites or the discharge of toxic chemicals to water or air and in doing so they must take into account the hydrology, geology and climate of the specific locality. While the basic approach to chemical risk assessment will be the same, irrespective of the specific objective for which the assessment is carried out, the details will vary as a function of: the product type (pharmaceutical, pesticide, industrial chemical, etc.), the target population of interest (patient, environment, consumer, worker, etc.) and the exposure scenario (global, international, national, local)}
place = {IAEA}
year = {1992}
month = {Jul}
}