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University of Gothenburg
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Chemical risk assessment is an balancing act between unknowns.
Chemical risk assessment is an balancing act between unknowns.
Photo: Arek Socha, Pixabay

Chemical risk assessment

In this research area, we evaluate chemical risks (in particular with chemical mixtures) to enable a safe and sustainable use of chemicals.

Altogether, we are aware of roughly 100 000 000 different chemicals - and each and every hour, about 40 new chemicals are discovered. At the same time, only some 70 chemical substances are restricted and monitored in the EU.

We have very little understanding of chemical effects on human health and the environment under realistic conditions. Even though the limits for exposure to hazardous chemicals are set low, the combination effects of being exposed to a mixture of of chemicals are unknown. Because of this, we need to assess the risks so that we can take precautionary actions.

How toxic is it?

One part of chemical risk assessment is trying to understand what effects chemicals have on the environment. Here, we particularly look at combination effects of chemical mixtures and toxicity of chemical groups. FRAM works with indicators and systems for the description of environmental repercussions of chemicals.

Boundries for pollution

FRAM works towards defining safe local, regional and global boundaries for chemical pollution that protect ecosystem services against the impact of the totality of chemical emissions and exposures. The boundaries shall adequately consider the complexity of chemical exposures in various ecosystems.

Statistical modelling

Statistical modelling is essential to incorporate and estimate uncertainties in chemical risk assessment. This work includes design of experiments, handling of data and interpretation of the results.

 

 

Videos

Video (5:26)
Criteria for Substances of International Concern - Beyond 2020
Video (29:31)
Risk to all or none? On the toxicity of microplastics.
Video (1:54)
Hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging
Video (4:28)
Workshop: A non-toxic environment