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Joint Workshop RAC-SEAC on Impact Assessment

Joint Workshop RAC-SEAC on Impact Assessment: "Approaches for translating the results of environmental risk assessments for use in socioeconomic impact assessment under REACH. Presentation and discussion of project results" (10 March 2011)

ECHA organised a short workshop on approaches for translating the results of environmental risk assessments for use in socioeconomic impact assessment under REACH on 10 March 2011. Some 70 RAC and SEAC members and observers and ECHA staff participated.

Conventional environmental risk assessment (ERA) methods describe the risk proposed by a chemical to the environment in terms that are difficult to value during socioeconomic assessment (SEA). The project, "Refinement of Environmental Risk Assessment Outputs for Use in Socioeconomic Impact Assessment Under REACH", was undertaken for the Luxembourg Environment Agency. This project investigated various potential approaches to refine or translate the measures of risk used in conventional environmental risk assessments, e.g. Risk Characterisation Ratios (RCRs), into more useful measures of impact for use in SEA under REACH. The project was split between an assessment of relatively easily implemented approaches (termed "rapid" methods) and more "sophisticated" approaches, such as Ecosystems Services, that are likely to be more technically and conceptually challenging to integrate with conventional chemical risk assessment methodology.

The main objective of the workshop was to discuss case studies that were undertaken to appraise each approach using chemicals currently or potentially subject to either a Restriction or Authorisation under REACH.

The workshop program [PDF]


Overall, the following conclusions and recommendation could be drawn from the workshop:

  1. At the present time, Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) and Ecosystem Services are limited in their applicability and ability to support SEA much beyond more conventional methods of risk assessment. Primarily this is because of data limitations. Should sufficient additional data be made available, particularly for LCIA, then these methodologies should be reappraised.
  2. Application of probabilistic methods in combination with species sensitivity distributions (use of dose-response curves from individual tests for those substances with low amounts of test data) to calculate the notional fraction of species affected in the environment, or amounts of media affected for a particular emission level could potentially be beneficial in SEA, as long as these measures were not misinterpreted.
  3. Additional consideration of "non-threshold" chemicals (i.e. PBT and vPvB chemicals) under the REACH authorisation regime, and their appraisal within SEA is required

The full workshop report [PDF]

Neither the workshop report nor the conclusions represent the view of ECHA or its Committees



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