RIVM is developing methods to identify new and emerging risks of chemical substances to workers, consumers and the environment. These methods are designed for faster identification of the adverse effects of exposure to substances so that policy makers can take timely measures. RIVM has published an interim report on progress in developing these methods.

New risks of chemical substances to human health and the environment can emerge in the short and long term. Adverse effects of long-term use of some chemical substances can be identified when a substance enters the human body via another exposure route (such as, inhalation), or if the substance causes new, previously unknown, adverse effects.  Recently introduced substances, the adverse effects of which are not sufficiently known, can also be damaging to human health and the environment. 

Risks to workers

The method has already been used to identify several risks to process workers. For instance, exposure to diacetyl has been identified as a new risk. Serious respiratory problems in process workers producing popcorn were already known. Meantime, diacetyl appear to cause respiratory complaints in workers in other sectors.

Since 2012, RIVM has been investigating methods to identify new risks of chemical substances, also referred to as New or Emerging Risks of Chemicals (NERCs). The methods to identify new and emerging risks to consumers and the environment are still being developed.