Applicability of Risk Assessment Questioned by Danish Scientists

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A study by Danish scientists points out that risk assessment might not be appropriate when it comes to endocrine disrupters and nanomaterials

Kristian Syberg and Steffen Foss Hansen from Roskilde University and the Technical Univerisity, respectively have just published a paper in Science of The Total Environment questioning the general use of environmental risk assessment to guide decision-makers when it comes to endocrine disrupters and nanomaterials.

Environmental risk assessment (ERA) is often considered as the most transparent, objective and reliable decision-making tool, but the analysis by Syberg and Hansen show that ERAs do not properly address all aspects of actual risk, such as the mixture effect and the environmentally realistic risk from nanomaterials. Uncertainties have been recognised for decades, and assessment factors are used to compensate for the lack of realism in ERAs. In the paper, Syberg and Hansen we discuss the use of chemical alternative assessments (CAAs) and the precautionary principle.

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In The Nanodatabase, what we know about the hazards and exposure of the nanomaterial used in each product is communicated using the safety evaluation framework NanoRiskCat and not ERAs. For more information, see