White paper on the promotion of an integrated risk assessment concept in European regulatory frameworks for chemicals

M. F. Wilks, N. Roth, L. Aicher, M. Faust, P. Papadaki, A. Marchis, Maura Calliera, A. Ginebreda, S. Andres, R. Kühne, G. Schüürmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The vision of a sustainable and safe use of chemicals to protect human health, preserve the environment and main- tain the ecosystem requires innovative and more holistic approaches to risk assessment (RA) in order to better in- form decision making. Integrated risk assessment (IRA) has been proposed as a solution to current scientific, societal and policy needs. It is defined as the mutual exploitation of environmental risk assessment (ERA) for human health risk assessment (HHRA) and vice versa in order to coherently and more efficiently characterize an overall risk to humans and the environment for better informing the risk analysis process. Extrapolating between species which are relevant for HHRA and ERA requires a detailed understanding of pathways of toxicity/modes of action (MoA) for the various toxicological endpoints. Significant scientific advances, changes in chemical legislation, and increas- ing environmental consciousness have created a favourable scientific and regulatory environment to develop and promote the concept and vision of IRA. An initial proof of concept is needed to foster the incorporation of IRA ap- proaches into different chemical sectorial regulations and demonstrate their reliability for regulatory purposes. More familiarity and confidence with IRA will ultimately contribute to an overall reduction in in vivo toxicity testing requirements. However, significant progress will only be made if long-term support for MoA-related research is se- cured. In the short term, further exchange and harmonization of RA terminology, models and methodologies across chemical categories and regulatory agencies will support these efforts. Since societal values, public perceptions and cultural factors are of increasing importance for the acceptance of risk analysis and successful implementation of risk mitigation measures, the integration of socio-economic analysis and socio-behavioural considerations into the risk analysis process may help to produce a more effective risk evaluation and consideration of the risks and benefits as- sociated with the use of chemicals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Integrated Risk assessment


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