Children can be more vulnerable than adults to chemicals. Considering global concern for children’s health, the OECD has been working to bring together knowledge and experiences to reduce risks to children’s health from chemicals.
The OECD releases a new report on Assessing the risk of chemicals to Children's Health: OECD-wide survey 2021 [ENV/CBC/MONO(2023)8].
It has been shown that children can be more vulnerable than adults to environmental hazards, such as those presented by chemicals, due to their physiological differences and unique behaviours. Risk assessment methodologies that specifically consider children are required to ensure that potential risks are addressed.
Following an OECD-wide survey of methodologies and tools used to assess the risk of chemicals to children’s health in 2011-2012 and a workshop held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on 7-8 October 2013, various projects have been carried out under the supervision of the Working Party on Exposure Assessment (WPEA) (see the list of publications below).
1. Children Exposure Factor Database Development
This project aims to develop the OECD database on Children Exposure Factors, which will compile exposure factors specifically for children, including children’s body weight, body surface area, inhalation rate, and time-activity-patterns from countries. Exposure factor handbooks of countries such as the US, Canada, and Korea, would be primary information sources but other information sources are expected to be provided by the WPEA members. The database will be uploaded to the OECD website once developed.
2. Children's Craft and Toy Products Case Study
The objective of this project to provide a compilation of available algorithms and approaches for estimating exposure to children using crafts and toys used by various OECD member countries. It will provide a document focusing on several categories of crafts and toys as follows and identifying where more work can be done based on emerging uses:
1) Modeling clay, silly putty and slimes
2) Paint (craft, face, finger)
3) Markers, highlighters, pens
4) Cuddle toy, squishy
5) Glues (liquid, solid), adhesives (hot glue), pastes
6) Temporary tattoos
7) Chalk, crayons and colouring pencils
This document presents the results of a survey, aiming to identify currently available methodologies for assessing the risk of chemicals to children’s health and also identify possible needs for additional or missing parameters and for further guidance documents. This document contains the results of the 36 reactions to the survey, which were received from 16 countries. It can be seen as a follow-up of the previous OECD-wide survey [ENV/JM/MONO(2013)20]
This document aims to enhance awareness for inclusion of children’s exposure in risk assessments when relevant and presents a children’s exposure decision tree that facilitates such decisions. The decision tree can be used to identify if a separate exposure assessment is needed with regard to children, and also aims to identify whether the exposure assessment conducted for adults already provides an acceptable level of safety of children. The focus of this document is on ‘industrial chemicals’, and targeted at ‘consumer products’. However, other types of products may also be covered, as such definitions can differ between countries. The key point of the document is to create awareness on child specific exposure. It is important to realise that legislations can also differ between countries, including existing requirements on whether to perform child-specific exposure and risk assessments. Exposure via food or the environment is regarded as background exposure in this document.
This considerations document presents a comprehensive analysis of children’s exposure to chemicals through mouthing, sucking and chewing on toys, books, textiles, etc. for addressing potential risks to children’s health from chemicals. Based on fifteen case studies, the document discusses key considerations from these case studies for target age groups, mouthing materials, algorithms and parameters, exposure values, hazard endpoints, default values and uncertainties.
This document presents the results of a workshop on children’s exposure to chemicals held on 7-8 October 2013 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The main outcomes are 1) a draft decision tree to enable risk assessors to decide when they should perform a child-specific exposure and risk assessment, and 2) recommendations for further work on specific exposure assessment issues.
This document presents the results of a survey of methodologies and tools used to assess the risk of chemicals to children’s health. It compiles currently available methodologies and tools for assessing the risk of chemicals to children’s health and also identifies possible needs for additional guidance or tools for assessing the risk of chemicals to children’s health. The following areas of risk assessment are covered: the definition of terms, hazard assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterisation, cohort studies and combined exposure to multiple chemicals.