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Assessment of chemicals

Children’s Health

 

Children can be more vulnerable than adults to chemicals. Considering global concern for children’s health, the OECD has been working to bring together knowledge and experiences to reduce risks to children’s health from chemicals.

Introduction

It has been shown that children can be more vulnerable than adults to environmental hazards, such as those presented by chemicals, due to their physiological differences and unique behaviours. Risk assessment methodologies that specifically consider children are required to ensure that potential risks are addressed. 

Following an OECD-wide survey of methodologies and tools used to assess the risk of chemicals to children’s health in 2011-2012 and a workshop held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on 7-8 October 2013, the following projects are currently being carried out.

Key Programmes

1. Decision Tree Project

A decision tree is being developed to serve as a basis for determining the need for a child-specific exposure assessment. This decision tree will also be applied to case studies related to variations in product categories, articles, uses, children’s behaviour and exposure routes.


2. Potential Follow-up Projects

Based on the progress of the decision tree project, additional projects could be launched, such as:

  • Collation and evaluation of available information in existing guidance documents on child specific exposure.
  • Collation and analysis of available information in Emission Scenario Documents (ESDs) as input for the development of new guidance on children’s exposure to chemicals or development of a new/revised ESD.
  • Compiling information and the development of a database for easy access to exposure assessment tools and data.
  • Harmonisation of definitions of terms used in children’s exposure assessment.
  • Review and update of available information on hand-to-mouth contact to develop a guidance document.

Reports

Estimating Mouthing Exposure in Children – Compilation of Case Studies, 2019 [ENV/JM/MONO(2019)24]

This considerations document presents a comprehensive analysis of children’s exposure to chemicals through mouthing, sucking and chewing on toys, books, textiles, etc. for addressing potential risks to children’s health from chemicals. Based on fifteen case studies, the document discusses key considerations from these case studies for target age groups, mouthing materials, algorithms and parameters, exposure values, hazard endpoints, default values and uncertainties.

Report on OECD Workshop on Children’s exposure to chemicals, 2014 [ENV/JM/MONO(2014)29]

This document presents the results of a workshop on children’s exposure to chemicals held on 7-8 October 2013 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The main outcomes are 1) a draft decision tree to enable risk assessors to decide when they should perform a child-specific exposure and risk assessment, and 2) recommendations for further work on specific exposure assessment issues.

Assessing the risk of chemicals to children’s health: an OECD-wide survey, 2013 [ENV/JM/MONO(2013)20]

This document presents the results of a survey of methodologies and tools used to assess the risk of chemicals to children’s health. It compiles currently available methodologies and tools for assessing the risk of chemicals to children’s health and also identifies possible needs for additional guidance or tools for assessing the risk of chemicals to children’s health. The following areas of risk assessment are covered: the definition of terms, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterisation, cohort studies and combined exposure to multiple chemicals.

Further reading

 

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