Risk Analysis

Aligning Chemical Assessment Tools Across the Hazard‐Risk Continuum

Journal Article

  • Author(s): Charles A. Pittinger, Thomas H. Brennan, Drew A. Badger, P. J. (Bert) Hakkinen, M. Catherine Fehrenbacher
  • Article first published online: 29 May 2003
  • DOI: 10.1111/1539-6924.00333
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With the growing number and diversity of hazard and risk assessment algorithms, models, databases, and frameworks for chemicals and their applications, risk assessors and managers are challenged to select the appropriate tool for a given need or decision. Some decisions require relatively simple tools to evaluate chemical hazards (e.g., toxicity), such as labeling for safe occupational handling and transport of chemicals. Others require assessment tools that provide relative comparisons among chemical properties, such as selecting the optimum chemical for a particular use among a group of candidates. Still other needs warrant full risk characterization, coupling both hazard and exposure considerations. Examples of these include new chemical evaluations for commercialization, evaluations of existing chemicals for novel uses, and assessments of the adequacy of risk management provisions. Even well‐validated tools can be inappropriately applied, with consequences as severe as misguided chemical management, compromised credibility of the tool and its developers and users, and squandered resources. This article describes seven discrete categories of tools based on their information content, function, and the type of outputs produced. It proposes a systematic framework to assist users in selecting hazard and risk assessment tools for given applications. This analysis illustrates the importance of careful selection of assessment tools to achieve responsible chemical assessment communication and sound risk management.

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