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safety and risk assessment

All substances, including common chemicals such as salt, vinegar, and even water, can be harmful to humans and other organisms given a sufficient dose. Understanding a chemical’s hazards is important when handling the neat chemical, but assessing whether these hazards will pose a risk when the chemical is used as an ingredient in a product requires many other factors to be taken into account.

Risk assessment works out whether products will be safe to use by comparing the foreseeable exposure to the product and its ingredients with the levels at which these could potentially cause harm. The difference between the potential exposure and the maximum safe dose is known as the ‘margin of safety’. Even though risk assessments may show products are safe, favouring materials with higher margins of safety is an important part of product design.

The technical guidance on ingredients, available here, has drawn as far as possible on detailed risk assessments and opinions on safety which have been undertaken and published by the following: