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

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

Authors: Heinala, Milla; Gundert-Remy, Ursula; Wood, Maureen Heraty; Ruijten, Marc; Bos, Peter M. J.; Zitting, Antti; Bull, Sarah; Russell, David; Nielsen, Elsa; Cassel, Gudrun; Leffler, Per; Tissot, Sylvie; Vincent, Jean-Martin; Santonen, Tiina ;Full Source: Journal of Hazardous Materials [online computer file] 2013, 244-245, 545-554 (Eng) ;