Please change orientation to landscape to view this website

Risk Assessment

by the Scientific Committees of the European Commission

When preparing proposals related to consumer safety, health and the environment, the European Commission relies on independent Scientific Committees to assess the potential risks.

Scroll down to begin


Question to the Committee

Sound scientific advice is vital to ensure a high level of health and environmental protection. Before making a legislative proposal, the European Commission asks the Scientific Committees to assess the potential risks; namely the probability and the severity of an adverse effect, in relation to the hazard and to the exposure.

Example SCHEER:

Example SCCS:

Hazard identification

Hazard identification defines which chemicals, biological or physical agents are potentially harmful to human health or the environment. It can be based on the results of in vivo tests, in vitro tests, in silico methods, epidemiological studies, clinical studies, case reports and data from post-marketing surveillance.

Exposure assessment

Exposure assessment defines the human exposure levels. It determines or estimates how, how much and how often the population is exposed to a substance. It also defines the source (drinking water, diet, consumer products, environment) and the route of intake among specific consumer groups like children, vulnerable groups, adults, etc.

Dose-response assessment

The dose-response assessment describes the relationship between the extent of an adverse effect in an organism and the different concentrations or doses of a chemical. If there is a threshold amount below which a substance is safe and above which it is not, then the threshold amount is taken as the highest dose that can be taken without any observable adverse effects.

Risk characterisation

Risk characterisation is the combination of information on hazard, exposure, and dose response to provide an estimate of the probability that identified specific adverse effects will occur in exposed people.

The Scientific Committee's opinion

A full risk assessment is made up, based on the available scientific evidence and undertaken in an independent, objective and transparent manner. This assessment serves as a basis for the next steps of the risk management and policy making processes.

Risk Management by the Commission and the Legislators

Risk management means the process of weighing policy alternatives in consultation with interested parties, considering risk assessment and other legitimate factors, and, if need be, selecting appropriate prevention and control options.

Policy proposal

Considering the risk assessment and all other relevant aspects, the European Commission makes a legislative proposal, for instance to authorise or to forbid a certain substance, to define exposure limits or to set prevention and risk reduction measures.


The legislative proposals are discussed and adopted by the EU legislators: the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. For tertiary legislation, adoption follows Comitology and scrutiny procedures.