EC Committees: Changes Coming to European Human Risk Assessment

Posted 22 October 2012 | By

A new discussion paper generated by three of the EU's top scientific committee has called for a paradigm shift in the way regulators assess risks to human health from a hazard-driven process to one driven by exposure.

The paper, Addressing the New Challenges for Risk Assessment, was issued by three of the European Commission's Scientific Committees: the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) and the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER). 

The paper notes that the new approach to risk assessment would require major improvements in the assessment of exposure to individual chemicals and groups of chemicals, and major changes in the identification and characterization of hazards to humans.

In investigations using laboratory animals, the paper notes that increasing importance should be directed to characterizing the mode of action with less emphasis to endpoints based on histopathological criteria, body and organ weight, and blood chemistry.

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the paper and the deadline for comments is November 30, 2012.

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