Friday, October 26, 2012European Commission

Public consultation on New Challenges for Risk Assessment

©CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

On 24 October, the European Commission and its 3 non-food Scientific Committees launched a consultation on the following discussion paper: Addressing the New Challenges for Risk Assessment. The motivation for this opinion has been the perception that the procedures currently used for human and environmental risk assessment will change substantially over the next few decades.

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This discussion paper is signed by three European scientific committees in charge to issue Opinions on respectively:
• Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR),
• Consumer Safety (CSS),
• Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER).
The public consultation will run until 30 November 2012 in view of receiving feedback from stakeholders for its further development.

Abstract. For a number of scientific and other reasons, the procedures currently used for both human and ecological risk assessment are anticipated to change substantially over the next few decades. However, the roadmaps for these changes are expected to be distinctly different for ecological and human health risk assessments.

Ecological risk assessment

The approaches in current use for ecological risk assessment are likely to suffice for regulatory purposes as sufficiently protective for ecosystems. However they lack environmental realism. This entails high uncertainty on the actual consequences of environmental contaminations on the ecosystem structure and functions that has to be addressed by the application of uncertainty/safety/default factors.
The main challenge for ecological risk assessment is to develop tools that take account of the complexity of the potentially exposed ecosystems and enable assessment of sites-pecific effects.

Exposure considerations
• Verification and harmonization of physico-chemical data is necessary. …

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