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Evaluation of a chemical risk assessment method of South Korea for chemicals classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR)

Min-Uk Kim 1,  
Korea University, Seoul, South Korea (Department of Health Science)
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2018;31(4):491–501
Objectives: Chemicals were used in various fields by the development of industry and science and technology. The Chemical Hazard Risk Management (CHARM) was developed to assess the risk of chemicals in South Korea. In this study, we were to evaluate the CHARM model developed for the effective management of workplace chemicals. Material and Methods: We used 59 carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR) materials, which are both the work environment measurement result and the usage information among the manufacturer data. The CHARM model determines the risk to human health using the exposure level (based on working environment measurements or a combination of the quantity used and chemical physical properties (e.g., fugacity and volatility)), hazard (using occupational exposure limit (OEL) or Risk phrases (R-phrases)/Hazard statements (H-statements) from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)). Results: The risk level was lower when using the results of the work environment measurement than when applying the chemical quantity and physical properties in the exposure level evaluation method. It was evaluated as grade 4 for the CMR material in the hazard class determination. The risk assessment method by R-phrases was evaluated more conservatively than the risk assessment method by OEL. And the risk assessment method by H-statements was evaluated more conservatively than the risk assessment method by R-phrases. Conclusions: The CHARM model was gradually conservatively assessed as it proceeded in the next step without quantitative information for individual workplaces. The CHARM is expected to help identify the risk if the hazards and exposure levels of chemicals were identified in individual workplaces. For CMR substances, although CHARM is highly evaluated for hazards, the risk is assessed to be low if exposure levels are assessed low. When evaluating the risk of highly hazardous chemicals such as CMR substances, we believe the model should be adapted to be more conservative and classify these as higher risk. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2018;31(4):491–501
Sang-Hoon Byeon   
Korea University, Department of Health Science, Anam-ro 145, 136-701 Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea