Hazard classification or risk assessment

Ulla Hass

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalResearchpeer-review


The EU classification of substances for e.g. reproductive toxicants is hazard based and does not to address the risk suchsubstances may pose through normal, or extreme, use. Such hazard classification complies with the consumer's right to know. It is also an incentive to careful use and storage and to substitute with less toxic compounds. Actually, if exposure is constant across product class, producersmay make substitution decisions based on hazard. Hazard classification is also useful during major accidents where there is no time for risk assessment and the exposure is likely to be substantial enough to be a risk.

A hazard does not necessarily constitute a risk, as efforts can be done to minimize risk by reducing the exposure. Thus, the relationship between hazard and risk must be treated cautiously. Fora robust risk assessment good data on exposure to the substance is needed and exposure data for other similarly acting substances are needed for assessing the risk for mixture effects. Such data may, however, often be absent.

Toxicological potency, i.e. the lowest dose found to cause adverse effects, has been proposed as one of the key characteristics when evaluating safety of a substance. However, this may be a poor substitute for a proper risk assessment as low potency substances can constitute a risk if the exposure is high enough and vice versa.

Examples illustrating the strength and limitations of hazard classification, risk assessment and toxicological potency will be presented with focus on reproductive toxicants and especially endocrine disrupters.

Copyright © 2013 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue numberSupplement
Pages (from-to)57-57
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event49th Congress of the European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX) - Interlaken, Switzerland
Duration: 1 Sep 20134 Sep 2013
Conference number: 49


Conference49th Congress of the European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX)


Dive into the research topics of 'Hazard classification or risk assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this