Completed Task Force

Sufficiency of aquatic hazard information for environmental risk assessment


Currently, there is no clear consensus concerning whether available information on the aquatic hazard of substances is sufficient for determining whether or not an environmental risk assessment may be required. This question gained relevance in the REACH context: under REACH, this uncertainty is leading to cautionary approaches as to when and how environmental risk assessments are undertaken. For example, the discussion on the scope of Exposure Assessment under REACH could not be settled due to the ongoing debate on whether the existing classification for aquatic hazards captures the risks to organisms in the soil and sediment compartment.

By undertaking this work, it can be anticipated that it will be possible to establish the extent to which aquatic hazard information is sufficient for managing risks in other compartments. This is not only expected to be relevant for the development of waiver justification for REACH testing requirements, but also for other REACH responsibilities (e.g. the extent to which compartments beyond the aquatic should be evaluated within CSAs).

Terms of reference

  1. Confirm the coverage of current C&L for the environment.
  2. Confirm the extent to which the existing system for describing the aquatic hazard of substances is protective for risks in the compartments water, soil, and sediment.
  3. Identify those substance types for which a better understanding may be required where a lack of aquatic hazard may relate to potential risks in the compartments soil and sediment.
  4. Review available information acquisition strategies for obtaining hazard information in soil and sediment with the aim of identifying reliable approaches for improving the confidence in the environmental safety assessment.
  5. Have a workshop involving stakeholders to discuss the findings.