Health Risk Assessment Guidance for Metals (HERAG)

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Metals are natural components of the earth and exist in many forms - each with its own specific chemical characteristics that define its interactions with the environment and with living organisms.

Traditionally, the majority of risk assessments and consequently guidance materials have focussed on organic chemicals. In many cases such guidance fails to adequately address specific characteristics that must be taken into account to perform accurate risk assessments for metals. Through HERAG we have sought to address this by consolidating the extensive scientific progress that has been made in this field in recent years.

The critical concepts are presented in a series of eight independently reviewed HERAG fact sheets. It is hoped that these latest concepts will enable regulators and scientists to create new or adapt local, national or regional risk assessment systems accordingly.

It is our intention that this publication, through periodic updates and addition to these fact sheets will provide a solid basis for improvement in risk assessment processes for metals and we encourage all parties to use the material freely.

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1. Assessment of occupational dermal exposure and dermal absorption for metals and inorganic metal compounds

2. Assessment of occupational inhalation exposure and systemic inhalation absorption

3. Indirect exposure via the environment and consumer exposure

4. Gastrointestinal uptake and absorption, and catalogue of toxicokinetic models

5. Mutagenicity

6. Quality screening procedures for health effects literature

7. Essentiality

8. Choice of assessment factors in health risk assessment for metals