Almost all things around us are made of chemical substances (chemicals), regardless of whether there are naturally existed or artificially created. It is said that several ten-thousand types of chemicals are industrially produced in Japan nowadays, and chemicals have become essential in our daily life.
Each individual chemical possesses unique properties, and such properties are utilized to benefit us in our daily life. However, misuse of a chemical may lead to undesirable effects on human health or the environment. Additionally, some people feel unarticulated anxiety over artificially synthesized chemicals.
To that end, there emerged a way of chemicals management to reduce the possibility of undesirable effects of chemicals (i.e. risk) as much as possible and to maximize the effective use of good properties of chemicals, which leads to the “risk-based chemicals management” that is currently promoted in the world. Furthermore, sharing of risk information with people involved with chemicals and having mutual understanding through risk communication will achieve safer use of chemicals and the development of trust and sense of safety to each other.
“Risk of chemicals” is the possibility of undesirable effects on human health or the environment by chemicals. The risk caused by a chemical is determined by the hazard of the chemicals (Hazard) and the exposed amount to the chemicals (Exposure).
By reducing the exposure to a chemical adequately, their undesirable effects on human health or the environment can be mitigated even if the chemical is harmful. Conventionally the mainstream of chemicals management used to focus on the hazard of chemicals, but lately risk management that takes into account the exposure for humans and the environment has been promoted globally.