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Health Risk Assessment Guidance for Metals (HERAG)

16 October 2007

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.


  • Typical risk assessments and guidance fail to take into consideration the specificities of metals. This guidance provides detailed advice to perform accurate health risk assessments for metals.
  • HERAG consolidates existing experience and recent progress made with health risk assessment methods, concepts and methodologies used in chemicals management programs for metals.
  • HERAG comprises several fact sheets, looking at considerations for specific elements of health hazard assessment, namely:
  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

Background Document