Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Potential substances of very high concern in the context of REACH regulation

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.08.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Control and care of the environment   

Code Science Field
B700  Biomedical sciences  Environmental health 

Code Science Field
1.05  Natural Sciences  Earth and related Environmental sciences 
hazardous substances, REACH, health risk assessment, high concern for health and the environment
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (5)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22304  PhD Mojca Bavcon Kralj  Chemistry  Researcher  2016 - 2018  199 
2.  15074  PhD Raja Gošnak Dahmane  Neurobiology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  212 
3.  02564  PhD Branko Kontić  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2016 - 2018  503 
4.  24265  PhD Davor Kontić  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2016 - 2018  115 
5.  11539  PhD Polonca Trebše  Control and care of the environment  Head  2016 - 2018  510 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  89,990 
2.  0382  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Health Sciences  LJUBLJANA  1627155  14,264 
The proposed project represents a support for complementation of the legal framework of REACH. It focuses on the identification of substances which pose a threat to human health because of their characteristics and in this relation raise increased concerns. It follows the need for action and protection at different levels, from restrictions of emissions through the determination of the allowable exposure until the prohibition of their use. Given the fact that exposure to hazardous substances occurs in different environments - occupational, lifestyle, outdoors – and within various activities the problem is relevant for all social and age groups. However, there are differences in the severity and extent of the possible consequences which must be identified timely and appropriately by a risk assessment process, taking into account the activities and habits of individuals and populations. In this context, special attention will be given to children and adolescents in accordance with the Action Plan for the implementation of the Health Strategy of children and adolescents in relation to the environment from 2012 to 2020. Threat or exposure of particularly vulnerable population groups is particularly important in terms of public health. In the proposed study we will thoroughly focus on this aspect and the content. The study will include the review of the presence of selected substances in the environment by analyzing their source, transport, usage and accumulation as well as the possible metabolic processes in the environment and human contact with them. We will consider both, the existing, already used materials, and the expected new ones which will be introduced through technological and economic development after 2020 (the latter in the context of "Emerging New Technology Related Risks" http://www.integrisk.eu-vri.eu/). The cases of exposure will be dealt with comprehensively, i.e. by analysing the random and short-time exposures as well as continuous ones (daily/frequent), conscious and unconscious, during the play, eating, work, entertainment, etc. In doing so, the available data of measurements and existing studies for already used substances will be taken into account. For new ones the forecasts obtained from the existing relevant studies (with common objectives as the proposed project) will be applied. The results of the project will serve as a support for implementation of risk-minimisation measures and for revision/adaptation of REACH legislation (Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006), in particular for the preparation of dossiers in accordance with Annex XV.
Significance for science
Methods, tasks and tools used in science are in risk assessment realm percieved as a kind of "technological parameters". They include the assembly of operations, which combines the achievements of many scientific fields (chemical, biological, physical, medical, mathematical, sociological, etc.). The sum of these operations is needed for the decision-making process including control, reduction and/or removal of the risks posed by chemicals. At the operational level they could be recognized as guidelines for determining the norms in a concrete situation, as a support for the deployment of activities in the area, triggering remedial actions, etc. In general, the accepted boundary between the evaluations and decisions, should be done on the basis of scientific evidence, not on political or social views and assessments. This is an inevitable and desirable component in the decision-making process. It is necessary to clearly distinguish which type of uncertainty can be expected in the scientific work, and which in the decision-making process. The corrections for professional mistakes and errors should be found in scientific researches, whereas the corrections in decision making should be found in more transparent and democratic decision-making process. Due to technical errors and mistakes made in the past (there have been liberal interpretations of various findings, such us frequency), the risk assessment began to lose its importance. In the seventies and eighties of the last century, the society started to reject the risk assessments. The complaints were mainly oriented toward experts, which were not able to make realistic forecasts, the predictions were often proved to be inaccurate, too subjective, and some cases the predicted scenarios were either too indifferent, or too pessimistic. Then fortunately, the risk assessment started to receive much attention in the 1990s. Experts have improved methods and thus provided new scientific evidence about the hazards related to substances. They have successfully separated risk assessment from the decision-making processes. The risk assessment field has been developed into almost independent science. Similarly, and in parallel, there has been a significant evolution of the environmental impact assessment. Although both (the risk assessment and the envitronmental impact assessment), are still not perceived as independent fields of science, but rather as the so-called "technologies", they seem to be for many a direct generators of knowledge. This is not entirely true, if we understand that the basic knowledge is generated in basic science, and the technology is in the function of use (with some exceptions eg. a pioneering agriculture, aviation, etc.). The proposed project will consolidate the concepts and integrate knowledge on the exposure assessment and risk into a coherent unison in order to facilitate the effective application of the knowledge into REACH regulations.
Significance for the country
The importance of the project for the development of Slovenia lies in the interdisciplinary cooperation of top experts from various fields who transfer their knowledge to the scientific and professional circles through publications, introduce new knowledge into industrial branches and help to integrate these achievements directly into practice. Technologies are using different substances as inputs for manufacturing processes. If they are not properly assessed in terms of risk they can lead to additional damage and effects posed by a product with a high health risk, which can become a major financial burden later on, when the manufacturers are required to provide remediation procedures, product recall, lawsuits, etc. Therefore, the manufacturer may select a certain technological process as a more appropriate and safer, avoid the use of certain substance in the technological process or replace it with less burdening substance for human health and environment, if they know the properties of substances and the risks associated therewith in advance.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2016, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2016, final report
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