Survey on methodologies in the risk assessment of chemical exposures in emergency response situations in Europe

Milla Heinälä, Ursula Gundert-Remy, Maureen Heraty Wood, Marc Ruijten, Peter M.J. Bos, Antti Zitting, Sarah Bull, David Russell, Elsa Nielsen, Gudrun Cassel, Per Leffler, Sylvie Tissot, Jean Martin Vincent, Tiina Santonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A scientifically sound assessment of the risk to human health resulting from acute chemical releases is the cornerstone for chemical incident prevention, preparedness and response. Although the general methodology to identify acute toxicity of chemicals has not substantially changed in the last decades, there is ongoing debate on the current approaches for human health risk assessment in scenarios involving acute chemical releases.A survey was conducted to identify: (1) the most important present and potential future chemical incident scenarios and anticipated changes in chemical incidents or their management; (2) information, tools and guidance used in different countries to assess health risks from acute chemical releases; and (3) needs for new information, tools, guidance and expertise to enable the valid and rapid health risk assessment of acute chemical exposures.According to the results, there is an obvious variability in risk assessment practices within Europe. The multiplicity of acute exposure reference values appears to result in variable practices. There is a need for training especially on the practical application of acute exposure reference values. Although acutely toxic and irritating/corrosive chemicals will remain serious risks also in future the development of plausible scenarios for potential emerging risks is also needed. This includes risks from new mixtures and chemicals (e.g. nanoparticles).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)545-554
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
    Volume244-245
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2013

    Keywords

    • Acute exposure reference values
    • Chemical incidents
    • Health risk assessment
    • Survey

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