Chemical substances

RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment assesses the health risks of chemical substances such as:

  • plant protection products (pesticides), 
  • biocides,
  • veterinary drugs,
  • contaminants,
  • mycotoxins,
  • food contact materials, 
  • food additives,
  • botanicals.

Several of these chemicals, such as food additives and pesticides, are added to food on purpose. These chemicals are evaluated prior to their registration to ascertain that their use will not result in a health risk. After their use has been approved, their safety is evaluated using actual analysed concentrations of these chemicals in foods or use levels provided by industry. Additionally, RIVM evaluates the health risk of chemicals that are present in food due to environmental contamination, processing or natural occurrence, and risks of new techniques, such as nanotechnology.

For the evaluation of health risks, RIVM develops and implements methods and models for risk assessment purposes. RIVM may also establish safe intake levels.

International level

RIVM experts participate in panels and working groups of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Ever since the 1970’s RIVM is contributing to the scientific committees of the Codex Alimentarius Committees, 

RIVM experts participate in panels and working groups of EFSA. Additionally, since the 1970s, RIVM contributes to the scientific committees of the Codex Alimentarius Committees, Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and  Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) and provides advice for the Dutch ministries on their contribution within the Codex Committees.