ECETOC Publishes Conceptual Framework for Polymer Safety Assessment

The European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) has announced the development of a new risk assessment framework for polymers. Presented in the technical report entitled “The ECETOC Conceptual Framework for Polymer Risk Assessment (CF4Polymers)”, it includes a central multistep process.

Key Steps

CF4Polymers represents a significant development in the area of polymer risk assessment. Olivier de Matos, ECETOC’s Secretary General, has highlighted the significance of the new framework, noting that it “represents a major step forward in safety assessment of polymers. It provides consistency and is also the first time that the polymer risk assessment process not only addresses the polymer itself, but also any potential impurities or added substances.”

The CF4Polymers framework outlines the following core steps:

  • Step 1 - Problem formulation
    • Includes definition of risk assessment scope and protection goal.
  • Step 2 - Polymer identification
    • Involves identification not only of the polymer itself, but also of additives and non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), if applicable.
  • Step 3 - Polymer component strategy
    • Focuses on the specific components of the polymer product to be addressed in subsequent steps of the framework.
  • Step 4 - Grouping approach evaluation for similar polymers
    • Recommends using expert judgement in an effort to identify polymer similarity and other parameters.
  • Step 5 - Determination of scenarios for exposure
    • Focuses on the exposures and hazards to be characterized in subsequent steps of the framework to address the initially defined risk assessment scope.
  • Step 6 - Exposure characterization
    • Involves quantification of the exposure levels of ecological receptors or relevant human population to the polymer's life cycle stage.
  • Step 7 - Hazard identification and assessment
    • Includes deriving both ecological and human health hazard descriptors.
  • Step 8 - Risk characterization
    • Allows obtained results to be used to identify specific risk management efforts.

Because of the variability that often can occur with risk assessment, the CF4Polymers framework was designed to enable the outlined step sequence to be adjusted as needed.

Access More Detailed Information

For more detailed information on the new risk assessment framework for polymers, access the CF4Polymers Technical Report (TR 133-1).

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