Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

Description of the Nature of the Accidental Misuse of Chemicals and Chemical Products – C2.2


There is an increasing interest in the nature of consumers exposures to chemicals. CEFIC LRI is currently supporting a number of initiatives which seek to better understand the nature of exposures arising from the intended use of chemical products, as well as indirect sources of exposure. Whilst these initiatives address routine exposures, they do not fully describe the nature and impacts of incidents that result from the accidental misuse of chemicals or chemical products. Although some information is available, for example within Poisons Control Centres, which describes the nature of such incidents in some EU Member States, including their frequency and possible root causes, a more complete picture across Europe is currently lacking.


CEFIC LRI would wish to entertain proposals for research that help to more fully describe the nature of "accidental exposures" to chemicals and chemical products across Europe (or at least being representative of Europe). This information would be expected to extend to data describing the frequency and root causes of the events in order to provide information that may enable these incidents to be better prevented e.g. via improved precautionary advice, packaging, formulations, etc. It is therefore anticipated that the project would extend to addressing the following elements:

  • Identify possible European sources of information relevant to describing exposure circumstances of chemical incidents involving consumer products, including but not limited to information held by Poisons Centres and industry sources.
  • Assess the degree of compatibility between existing systems and make recommendations for any improvements that might be made in order to facilitate further harmonisation of terms and practices.
  • Evaluate the information available within existing representative European data sources in order to provide statistical information on the nature and relative frequency of incidents and events that are related to accidental exposures to chemical products (including articles containing chemicals). Incidents arising by virtue of deliberate misuse of such materials would also form part of the scope of the project insofar as they are able to describe the responses of humans to high doses of chemicals relative to predictive animal findings. Account should be taken of the work already completed within IPCS and OECD that provides harmonised terminology, including terms associated with exposure and the descriptors of exposure circumstances and product categories.
  • To analyze the data in order to provide reliable information on such events, including their apparent frequency and other information that is useful in interpreting the risks presented by the use of such products and articles (including significant variations geography or within sub-sections of the population) e.g. estimates of internal dose associated with observed effects.
  • To investigate a representative number of such incidents (to be defined by the investigator) that will yield information on the root causes for the events, in order to provide information that may improve the basis by which preventive measures could be implemented by suppliers of such products, etc.,
  • To collect and archive the information in a manner that is consistent with the need to share and analyse this at the European level. Discuss the relevance and linkages with other research initiatives such as the structure of the ongoing CEFIC LRI project on the development of an European Sourcebook of Exposure Determinants (ExpoFacts)
  • To identify areas where specific data are lacking and/or where further research may be warranted in the context of the importance of this issue e.g. third party use and access to data from unpublished sources.
  • To describe the effectiveness of differing forms of risk management measures that are available to try to reduce the incidence of chemical-related consumer poisonings, e.g. using documented current practices to provide comments and recommendations.


Timing: The project would be expected to last for 24 months.

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