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Public Health (31-10-2008)

Public consultation: Risk assessment methodologies and approaches for mutagenic and carcinogenic substances

Several approaches are used to assess the risk of substances that are both genotoxic[1] and carcinogenic[2]. Assessing the risk of these substances is very important for chemicals present in foods, non foods and industrial applications. It is therefore essential that the assessment of these substances is conducted globally with a harmonised approach avoiding divergences of scientific opinions. 
The European Commission and the Scientific Committees on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), Consumer Products (SCCP) and Emerging and Newly Identified Risks (SCENIHR) launched today a public consultation onthe risk assessment methodologies and approaches for mutagenic[3] and carcinogenic substances. The consultation will run until 2 December 2008.
While the opinion is still at a draft stage, the Scientific Committees (SCs) indicate in their preliminary conclusions that the risk assessment of substances that are both genotoxic and carcinogenic should be done on a case-by-case approach. The preliminary report is published on the web and stakeholders are invited to comment through an online consultation aimed at gathering feedback on the scientific evidence and conclusions drawn by the SCs.
For more information, and the online consultation, see

[1] Genotoxic                          Substance that affects cellular DNA
[2] Carcinogenic                      Substance or agent that causes cancer
[3] Mutagenic                         Substance which increase the frequency of mutations above the natural background level