• Addressing combined effects of chemicals in environmental safety assessment under REACH - A thought starter

      van Broekhuizen FA; Posthuma L; Traas TP; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2017-02-13)
      Within current risk assessment practices of chemicals, safe production and use for humans and the environment is most often evaluated per-chemical. However, in the environment there are always multiple chemicals simultaneously present. It is therefore of importance to assess the combined effects of co-occurring chemicals. The European Commission concluded in 2009 that current risk assessment practices insufficiently consider these combined effects. In this thought starter, the RIVM proposes an approach to account for such effects in the environmental risk assessment of substances under the REACH Regulation. It is proposed to introduce a data-driven Mixture Assessment Factor (MAF) when assessing the environmental risk of a single substance under REACH. This factor should account for the number of chemicals that may possibly co-occur after emission of the target substance to the environment and that may consequently contribute to the combined effect. In this way is intended to ensure that, after emission to the environment, the substance together with all other chemicals present causes no combined environmental risk. In addition to this generic EU-wide approach, there is the possibility to consider further protective and curative measures on a site-specific basis when needed. The approach proposed here as a thought starter is not new and has been employed in the Netherlands for quite some time in the derivation of negligible risk levels for the environment. The eventual quantification of the MAF under REACH requires further work with regard to the identification of (the number of) chemicals that contribute most to the overall EU-wide combined effects. An important aspect in this regard is to establish an acceptable protection-level to safeguard the nontoxic environment with regard to combined effects of chemicals. Also important is to determine to what extent combined effects of chemicals should be addressed via a generic approach at EU-level or whether it might be more efficient to address location specific risks at local or national level
    • Advies voor een handreiking met afwegingskader risicoanalyse ZZS in afval

      Zweers PGPC; Verhoeven JK; Wassenaar PNH; Spijker J; Luit RJ; Ganzevles JH; Janssen MPM; ICH; ICH; VSP; VSP (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2018-10-01)
      Veel initiatieven zijn gaande, zowel in beleid als in de praktijk, om afval te hergebruiken (op weg naar een meer circulaire economie). Afval kan schadelijke stoffen bevatten die niet in het milieu mogen komen. Om te voorkomen dat dat gebeurt, gelden voorschriften. Voor afval dat zeer zorgwekkende stoffen (ZZS) bevat gelden extra regels op basis waarvan wordt afgewogen of het afval kan worden hergebruikt of moet worden vernietigd. Deze voorschriften maken deel uit van een nieuwe versie van het landelijke afvalbeheerplan (LAP3), dat eind 2017 is verschenen. Een onderdeel van het afvalbeheerplan is een risicoanalyse van de ZZS in afval, als de stoffen niet van het afval kunnen worden gescheiden. Het RIVM geeft in een handreiking en afwegingskader adviezen hoe de risicoanalyse van de ZZS in afval uit te voeren. De handreiking bestaat uit een stappenschema op basis waarvan een vergunninghouder kan afwegen of het afval veilig te recyclen is. Daarvoor moet de vergunninghouder eerst nagaan of de ZZS afgescheiden kunnen worden van de afvalstroom. Dit heeft de voorkeur. Als dat niet kan, is een risicoanalyse nodig van het ZZS-houdende afval voor de beoogde toepassing. De uitkomst daarvan geeft uitsluitsel of de risico's van de aanwezige ZZS aanvaardbaar zijn of niet. Uitgangspunt voor de risicoanalyse zijn de aspecten die volgens LAP3 dienen te worden meegewogen. Een voorbeeld is de mate waarin de ZZS uit het beoogde product vrijkomt. Als de risico's nog onvoldoende helder zijn, biedt het stappenplan een mogelijkheid om ze nader te bepalen. Als de risico's dan nog onaanvaardbaar blijken, kan geen vergunning worden afgegeven voor de toepassing. Er zal dan naar een minder risicovolle toepassing van het ZZS-houdende afval gezocht moeten worden, waarbij de risico's wel aanvaardbaar blijken. Het afwegingskader geeft wat meer achtergrondinformatie over enkele aspecten uit LAP3. Daarnaast biedt het overwegingen en aanbevelingen om de risicoanalyse verder te ontwikkelen.
    • Bisphenol A : Part 1. Facts and figures on human and environmental health issues and regulatory perspectives

      Bakker J; te Biesenbeek JD; Boon PE; Bos P; van Broekhuizen FA; Geertsma R; Geraets L; de Jong W; Mennes W; Palmen NGM; Piersma A; Schuur G; Sijm D; van der Ven L; Verbist K; Wouters M; Zeilmaker M; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2014-09-02)
      Various organisations have raised concerns about the possible adverse effects of BPA on human health. Scientific studies have associated BPA with adverse immune effects, obesity, ADHD, diabetes and prostate cancer, which may be related to its possible interaction with the estrogen receptor. To date, scientific studies have not found conclusive evidence of possible adverse effects caused by BPA and a causal relationship between BPA exposure and endocrine-mediated effects is still uncertain. Debates are ongoing about possible adverse effects of BPA at low doses that may lead to endocrine disruption, and about the presence (or absence) of a possible non-monotonic dose response (NMDR) relationship. Although this issue raises a lot of concern, there is still no conclusive evidence available that proves a low-dose effect. BPA has been shown to have endocrine disrupting effects on environmental organisms like fish and snails, leading to problems with reproduction and development of offspring. Over the years, BPA has been the topic of many different regulatory and scientific initiatives. It is still the topic of study in a vast number of ongoing initiatives. Consequently, the state of knowledge on BPA is a fast-developing field, especially regarding its possible endocrine-mediated effects. This report summarises the hazard and risk assessments on BPA and regulatory aspects available through 20 March 2014. The present data indicate a possible risk for a number of environmental compartments and for some occupational settings (EC, 2008). Knowledge about adverse effects, low-dose effects, NMDR and possible endocrine-mediated effects on human health is developing quickly. As of 20 March 2014, the available data do not indicate a risk for most groups of consumers and patients (EFSA draft, 2014; SCENIHR draft, 2014). However, some studies have expressed concern about the possible exposure of infants and young children in light of the present uncertainties and the higher sensitivity of people in these age groups (SCENIHR draft, 2014; GR, 2011). In March 2014, ECHA's Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) adopted the opinion to strengthen the current classification of BPA to a harmonised classification as a category 1B reproductive toxicant (Repro Cat. 1B). This opinion has to be officially established via a REACH Comitology decision before it can be included in Annex VI of the CLP Regulation (1272/2008/EC). This decision making process will take place within the next one to two years. It should be noted that this Part 1 report only gives an overview of the state of knowledge about BPA. It does not include an appraisal of the available information by the RIVM. That will follow in Part 2, which is expected to be published in 2015. Part 2 will evaluate the available scientific knowledge, discuss the possible health risks of BPA, include further support for policy considerations and, if relevant, propose further risk management measures.
    • Bisphenol A : Part 2. Recommendations for risk management

      Bakker J; Hakkert BC; Hessel EVS; Luit RJ; Piersma AH; Sijm DTHM; Rietveld AG; van Broekhuizen FA; van Loveren H; Verhoeven JK; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2016-03-03)
      More stringent European standards for safe exposure of workers and consumers to bisphenol A (BPA) were proposed in 2014 and 2015. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has concluded that new insights sufficiently warrant consideration of even more stringent standards and has recommended taking supplementary measures in the near future for a further reduction of BPA exposure. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a substance that occurs in numerous products, such as cash register receipts, building materials (paint and coatings), food packaging materials, toys and medical devices. Excessive BPA exposure is harmful to fertility and can affect the hormone system. New studies show that BPA can impair the immune system of unborn and young children at a lower exposure level than the one on which the current standards are based. This lower level is roughly comparable to the current every day BPA exposure level of workers and consumers. As a result of this exposure, people could have a greater probability of developing food intolerances and could become more susceptible to infectious diseases. Based on these new insights RIVM advises the national government to reduce BPA exposure in the short term wherever possible. Special attention needs to be devoted to protecting small children, pregnant women and women who breastfeed. This is because developing unborn and young children are more sensitive than adults to the effects of BPA. Ways to reduce exposure include developing safe alternatives or ensuring that less BPA is released from products. Additionally, workers can be protected against BPA exposure. Lower exposure is also important for sediment-dwelling animals that experience adverse effects due to current BPA concentration levels.
    • Evaluatie programma Van Afval naar Grondstof (VANG) 2014 - 2016

      Ganzevles JH; Hollander A; Traas TP; Zwart MH; Zwartkruis JV; ICH; ICH (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2018-09-25)
      Tussen 2014 en 2016 is het programma Van Afval naar Grondstof (VANG) uitgevoerd, als voorloper van het rijksbrede programma 'Nederland circulair in 2050'. De acties van VANG zijn ondertussen afgerond óf opgenomen in het rijksbrede programma, dat in 2016 van start ging. Voor het ministerie van Infrastructuur & Waterstaat (I&W) heeft het RIVM geëvalueerd welke doelen en ambities van het VANG-programma in 2016 zijn bereikt. Hieruit blijkt dat veel zaken in gang zijn gezet, maar niet alle doelen zijn behaald. Een versnelling is nodig om ze alsnog te realiseren. Een belangrijk doel was (en is) om minder afval te storten of te verbranden en meer te recyclen. De planning om in tien jaar tijd de hoeveelheid gestort en verbrand afval te halveren (2012 - 2022), blijkt niet op koers te liggen. Inspanningen hiervoor van bedrijven, (lokale) overheden en consumenten blijven nog achter. De hoeveelheid gestort of verbrand afval daalde eerst, maar is daarna weer gestegen (van 86 procent in 2015 naar 92 procent in 2016, vergeleken met de situatie in 2012). Ook het doel om 75 procent van het huishoudelijk afval in 2020 te scheiden, is nog een stevige uitdaging: in 2016 stond de teller op 54 procent. De afvalcijfers vanaf 2017 vielen buiten de kaders van deze evaluatie. Met VANG zijn ook op andere fronten stappen gezet. Een groot deel van het programma was erop gericht om innovatieve oplossingen voor duurzame productie en consumptie te stimuleren. Een voorbeeld is producten slimmer te ontwerpen en te gebruiken, zodat ze minder afval veroorzaken. Producten kunnen bijvoorbeeld langer meegaan door ze geschikter te maken voor reparatie. Het RIVM kan niet aangeven of de doelstellingen voor duurzamere productie en consumptie zijn bereikt, omdat deze algemeen zijn geformuleerd en niet in getallen uitgedrukt. Het RIVM raadt dan ook aan om deze doelstellingen bij nieuw beleid specifieker en beter meetbaar te maken. Deze evaluatie levert bouwstenen voor de formele Beleidsevaluatie Duurzaamheid, die gepland staat voor 2019.
    • Evaluation of substances used in the GenX technology by Chemours, Dordrecht

      Beekman M; Zweers P; Muller A; de Vries W; Janssen P; Zeilmaker M; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2016-12-12)
      Since 2012, Chemours (Dordrecht) is using the GenX technology to produce plastics (fluoropolymers). In this technology, the substances FRD-902, FRD-903 and E1 replace the controversial PFOA substances. No health risk is expected for people living in the vicinity of the plant due to the emissions of these substances. <br> <br>This is the finding of the RIVM. Commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (IenM), it is investigated to what extent the three substances are harmful to people living near the factory. For this, the scientific literature and the information in the European chemicals legislation REACH are examined on the properties of the listed substances. In addition, based on both the maximum authorised quantity and the recorded emission data that Chemours has provided, it is calculated to what extent they are released. <br> <br>FRD-903 is used to manufacture FRD-902. E1 is formed during the manufacturing process. FRD-903 and E1 are emitted to the air. Like PFOA, FRD-903, FRD-902 and E1 are perfluorinated hydrocarbons and poorly degradable in the environment. Also, FRD-902 and FRD-903 are causing similar harmful effects as PFOA (such as carcinogenic and effects on the liver). These substances are, however, less harmful to reproduction than PFOA; reproduction toxicity is the reason to regard PFOA as substance of very high concern. In contrast to PFOA, FRD-902 and FRD-903 seem not to bioaccumulate in humans. <br> <br>A safe limit value for the general population is derived based on a worst-case scenario. The concentration FRD-903 in air stays below this limit value. For E1, information is missing to derive a limit value. Based on the limited available information, this substance is probably less harmful than PFOA. <br>
    • Historisch overzicht van openbare informatie over de gezondheidseffecten, classificatie en normstelling voor PFOA en DMAC toegespitst op blootstelling van werknemers

      Visser MJ; ter Burg W; Muller JJA; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2016-12-23)
      News reports on the chemical plant of Dupont/Chemours in Dordrecht have shown that in the past workers were possibly exposed to the substances PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) or related salts and DMAC (N,N-dimethylacetamide). This urged the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment to ask for an in-depth study on the facts. To review these facts within the current context, RIVM received the assignment to describe the health risks and applicable standards known as a function of time. This survey allows placing the facts on the use of these substances by Dupont, the working processes applied at that time and the related risk management measures in the right perspective. In this report, the RIVM provides a timeline showing which and when scientific knowledge on the health effects of these substances became publically available. In addition, the introduction and changes over time of the nationally and internationally maximum allowed concentration of these substances at the work place (limit values) are indicated. The timeline also shows the development of the hazard classification of the substances in the pertinent European regulations. For this survey, the publically available scientific literature was searched for information on the health effects of the substances mentioned as well as on the assessment of these substances by regulating bodies. In addition, an inventory was made of when these studies were publically available for the first time. This could not always be determined with certainty. The quality of the scientific studies was not assessed.
    • Jaarverslag Bureau REACH 2016 : Grip op chemische stoffen

      Beekman M; Zweers P; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2017-07-13)
      Chemical substances are everywhere in our society, like plasticizers in polymers, flame-retardants in matrasses and solvents in paints. European legislation guarantees the safe production and use of these substances. The two main regulations in Europe are: REACH (registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals) and CLP (classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures). On behalf of the Ministries I&M, VWS and SZW, RIVM Bureau REACH supports and advices on the implementation of this European legislation. This annual report describes the main activities in 2016 and highlights some specific cases. Bureau REACH prepares for instance dossiers to request addition toxicological information on the properties of a substance, or to identify a chemical as substance of very high concern. In addition, a harmonized classification in Europa can be determined. Furthermore, Bureau REACH assesses dossiers prepared by other Member States and by industry.
    • Jaarverslag Bureau REACH 2017 : Grip op chemische stoffen

      Beekman M; Zweers P; van Goor-Gras J; ICH; VSP (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2018-10-01)
      Chemische stoffen zijn niet weg te denken uit onze maatschappij. Voorbeelden zijn weekmakers in plastic, brandvertragers in matrassen en oplosmiddelen in verf. Om ervoor te zorgen dat veilig met deze stoffen wordt omgegaan, zowel tijdens de productie als bij het gebruik, is Europese wetgeving opgesteld. De belangrijkste zijn twee Europese verordeningen: REACH (registratie, evaluatie, autorisatie en restrictie van chemische stoffen) ) en CLP (classificatie, labelling en packaging van stoffen en mengsels). In opdracht van de ministeries I&M, VWS en SZW ondersteunt en adviseert Bureau REACH van het RIVM het Europees Chemicaliën Agentschap (ECHA) en (buitenlandse) overheden bij de uitvoering van REACH en CLP. Dit jaarverslag beschrijft in hoofdlijnen de activiteiten in 2017 en belicht enkele specifieke cases. Zo was er in 2017 veel aandacht voor nieuwe stoffen waarover zorgen bestaan in bijvoorbeeld drinkwater (zoals GenX) en risico's als mensen aan verschillende stoffen tegelijk bloot worden gesteld. Als de risicoanalyse van stoffen nog vragen oproepen, kan Bureau REACH de producent of importeur om aanvullende informatie over de schadelijkheid van een stof vragen. Op basis van de uitkomst wordt bepaald of een stof als zeer ernstige zorgwekkende stof (ZZS) moet worden getypeerd. Ook kan Bureau REACH voorstellen indienen om stoffen in te delen op basis van Europees vastgestelde gevaren (classificatie volgens CLP). Daarbij worden afspraken gemaakt over hoe de gevaarseigenschappen van een stof op etiketten aangeduid moeten worden zodra deze boven de grenswaarde in een product aanwezig is. Verder beoordeelt Bureau REACH dossiers van stoffen die door andere landen en de industrie worden ingediend.
    • Ketenanalyse brandstoffen en brandstofadditieven

      Bakker J; Theodori D; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2015-07-06)
      At the request of the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), RIVM has prepared an overview of companies that produce, import and distribute fuels and fuel additives or use them on an industrial scale. In addition, information has been collected on these fuels and additives, for instance on the types of substances used and their hazardous properties, as well as on banned substances. Furthermore, information has been gathered on compliance with the European directives on substances. ILT will use the results of this study to determine areas that warrant particular attention in their supervision of compliance with the directives on substances. This study focuses mainly on fuels based on mineral oil. Fuels based on mineral oil are used in all economic sectors, but mainly in the transport sector. The supply chain of fuels and additives is complex and consists of many links. Some companies in the supply chain may fulfil a number of different roles. A fuel producer, for instance, may also be importing fuels and is often also a blender. If products and additives based on mineral oil have hazardous (carcinogenic) properties, they can be placed on international lists of banned or restricted chemicals. Today, many fuels based on mineral oil are no longer classified as carcinogenic because they have been refined to such an extent that they only contain small amounts of undesirable chemicals. Bunker oils for shipping and (heavy) fuel oils constitute an exception to this rule. An important point for attention is the quality of information about substances and components in the so-called safety data sheets. Producers of fuels and fuel additives receive these sheets from their suppliers and incorporate them in the safety data sheets they prepare for the next link in the chain. Some producers of fuels and fuel additives have therefore indicated that they check the accuracy of the information they receive from their suppliers. Only large companies, however, possess sufficient in-house expertise to do this.
    • Ontgassen van MTBE-vervoerende schepen

      Bouwman T; Zandveld P; Raben I; Hulskotte J; van der Maas W; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2015-11-03)
      During degassing at inland waterways of vessels transporting MTBE (methyl-tert-butyl ether), some of the MTBE is released to the atmosphere. Degassing occurs when the vessel is sailing, basically outside residential areas. MTBE is known to spread an odour which can cause symptoms such as headaches. People ashore can suffer from the smell, which may already occur at low concentrations. Because of the short duration of exposure, the risk of other direct health effects is expected to be small. This is shown in study which RIVM carried out in cooperation with TNO. For this, the calculated exposure is compared with the air quality limit values for MTBE. Calculations were consistently based on worst case scenarios. The results show that MTBE exposure limits are rarely exceeded. The investigation was initiated in response to questions from the Dutch Parliament in 2013 about the (odour) nuisance for people who live on the shore in the Rijnmond region. The parliament also wanted to know whether the degassing of MTBE ships are the cause of the elevated MTBE concentrations detected in Dutch surface water. This appeared not to be the case. MTBE is a substance that is added to gasoline in order to improve its quality. In the Netherlands, about 600 cargoes of MTBE per year are transported. When another good is to be shipped, the ship is cleaned and degassed.
    • Progress report on New or Emerging Risks of Chemicals (NERCs)

      Bakker J; Bruinen de Bruin Y; Hogendoorn E; Kooi M; Palmen N; Salverda J; Traas T; Sijm D; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2015-03-26)
      Despite existing legislation to prevent or manage the risks of chemical substances, chemical risks continue to emerge on the short or long term. On the one hand, these risks can be the result of new substances, new applications, technological developments or process innovations. On the other hand adverse effects not recognized before might arise from the long-term use of existing substances. Therefore, a project coordinated by RIVM Bureau REACH and financed by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and the Ministry of Welfare and Sport was initiated in 2012 advocating the development of a system to identify New or Emerging Risks of Chemicals (NERCs) at an earliest stage. The project aims to link (new) information on chemical stressors to effects for three protection goals - workers, consumers and the environment- with the purpose to better protect man and the environment. This report summarizes the progress of work and results of the project presenting the methodologies in finding and prioritizing NERCs for each protection goal, and suggesting measures in order to reduce exposure of the selected NERCs in the nearby future. In addition to similarities in the methodologies for the identification of NERCs, the complexity and route of exposure of NERCs also resulted in differences in approaches for the three protection goals. The common features are using various sources (e.g. scientific literature, news sites, websites, electronic databases, stakeholder networks) for searching information and the evaluation of information involving international networks of experts to assess the causality between the chemical exposure and the effect. The next and future steps in the identification of NERCs is to develop a stepwise comprehensive strategy including follow-up measures, where needed, to manage, restrict or reduce the exposure of such compounds.
    • REACHing out to the bio-based economy : Perspectives and challenges of EU chemicals legislation

      Luit RJ; Waaijers-van der Loop SL; Heugens EHW; ICH; VSP (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2017-08-22)
      Het RIVM is nagegaan hoe de zogeheten bio-based economie, of specifieker de bio-based chemische sector, zich verhoudt tot de Europese chemische stoffenwetgeving REACH. Daaruit blijkt dat, meer dan tot nu toe vaak gedacht, REACH een kans kan zijn in plaats van een administratief obstakel. Er is een overzicht gemaakt van de vragen waar bio-based bedrijven in de dagelijkse praktijk tegenaan lopen als zij hun rollen en verplichtingen voor REACH waar willen maken. De analyse is gedaan op basis van vragen over bio-based economie die tussen 2013 en 2015 zijn gesteld aan de Nederlandse REACH-helpdesk. De vragen worden besproken aan de hand van de processen die deze wetgeving voorschrijft: registratie, autorisatie en restrictie. Het overgrote deel van de vragen gaat over registratie en de mogelijkheden om hiervan uitgezonderd te zijn. Er is een overzicht gemaakt van de vragen waar bio-based bedrijven in de dagelijkse praktijk tegenaan lopen als zij hun rollen en verplichtingen voor REACH waar willen maken. De analyse is gedaan op basis van vragen over bio-based economie die tussen 2013 en 2015 zijn gesteld aan de Nederlandse REACH-helpdesk. De vragen worden besproken aan de hand van de processen die deze wetgeving voorschrijft: registratie, autorisatie en restrictie. Het overgrote deel van de vragen gaat over registratie en de mogelijkheden om hiervan uitgezonderd te zijn. Vanuit wettelijk perspectief en vanuit het oogpunt van chemische veiligheid is het nuttig en begrijpelijk dat onder REACH een chemische stof wordt beoordeeld ongeacht zijn herkomst. Er bestaan evenwel specifieke registratie-uitzonderingen die van toepassing kunnen zijn op bio-based producenten. Dat betekent dat onder bepaalde voorwaarden de REACH-registratieplicht voor een deel van de bio-based producenten minder belastend zal zijn. Verder biedt REACH kansen voor producenten om veilige bio-based alternatieven aan te reiken voor zeer zorgwekkende stoffen.
    • Risicoschatting van de toevoeging van Gasodor S-Free aan aardgas

      van Kesteren PCE; de Knecht JA; van Iersel P; te Biesebeek JD; Palmen NGM; Bakker J; Puts CF; Guichelaar SK; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2017-08-31)
      As natural gas is odourless, an odorant is added to detect the release of gas and prevent explosions. The odorant (tetrahydrothiophene) that is currently used contains sulphur. So as not to add to current levels of sulphur in the environment, Gasunie Transport Services has investigated the possibility of adding another sulphur-free fragrance: Gasodor S-Free. Because of the extensive use of natural gas, it is important that the potential risks of this product are thoroughly evaluated. RIVM has not been able to find sufficient information to determine whether the use of Gasodor S-Free as an odorant in natural gas is safe. There is a concern that this product can cause allergic reactions if inhaled. Any application of Gasodor S-Free, therefore, should be discouraged until the possible risk of allergic reactions has been clarified. RIVM provides recommendations about which investigations could be conducted to assess the risk of these reactions more comprehensively. Gasodor S-Free is a mixture of three substances, mainly ethyl acrylate and methyl acrylate (together 95 percent or more), and a small percent of 2-ethyl-3-methylpyrazine. The possible consequences of the two main components cannot be judged properly based on current knowledge. Ethyl acrylate and methyl acrylate are known to irritate the respiratory tract, but the low concentrations in intended use of Gasodor S-Free do not exceed standards. Nor are they carcinogenic. However, it is known that both substances can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic effects could also occur if the substance is inhaled, but this cannot be evaluated based on the available information. There is also insufficient information available on the adverse effects of the third substance (2-ethyl-3-methylpyrazine) for an assessment of the possible effects on humans and the environment to be made
    • Risk assessment of an increased concentration limit of benzene in natural gas

      van Kesteren PCE; te Biesebeek JD; Palmen NGM; Bakker J; Muller JJA; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2013-09-05)
      Benzene is a volatile liquid that is carcinogenic. To prevent risks for human health the use of benzene is restricted. Within the current European substances regulation REACH the presence of benzene in natural gas is indicated as mass fraction (0.1 percent comparable with 1 g benzene in 1000 g natural gas). It is proposed to change this to the same indication as set for gases in other European legal frameworks. In those other frameworks maximum levels are indicated as volume fraction (0.1 percent comparable with 1 litre benzene in 1000 litres natural gas). According to the RIVM it is unlikely that this conversion causes health hazards in regular situations of human exposure to benzene via natural gas. This applies to the use of natural gas at home in the kitchen, for workers that carry out maintenance work at gas stations etcetera. In such situations the exposure to benzene remains below the safety limit. In some situations it is unknown if risks for human health may arise. According to the current information the exposure to benzene may be too high in case of small leaks of natural gas in homes that are not noticed or during industrial uses, such as maintenance work. However, this applies both to the current limit as to the limit based on the volume fraction. Further, there is a lot of uncertainty in the estimations of exposure levels and the likelihood that such exposure situations occur is very small. More information about the actual exposure levels is required in order to make a more realistic estimate.
    • Wetted surface area of recreational boats

      Bakker J; van Vlaardingen PLA; ICH; VSP (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2018-01-18)
      Het onderwateroppervlak van pleziervaartuigen wordt vaak met speciale verf behandeld die voorkomt dat er algen en andere organismen op gaan groeien. De werkzame stoffen in deze verf (antifouling) komen in het water terecht. Hoeveel dat is wordt mede bepaald door de grootte van het behandelde oppervlak. Het RIVM heeft een methode ontwikkeld om het onderwateroppervlak van recreatievaartuigen te berekenen op basis van de bootlengte. Een goede schatting van de grootte van dit oppervlak is essentieel voor de milieubeoordeling. Het eindresultaat is een gewogen gemiddelde voor het onderwateroppervlak van recreatievaartuigen in Nederlandse jachthavens en een uitsplitsing daarvan naar zeewater, binnenwateren en overgangswateren. Verven die verkocht worden met dit doel zijn biociden. Bij de toelating van biociden wordt de veiligheid van het product voor mens en milieu beoordeeld. De werkzame stof in de aangroeiwerende verf is mogelijk niet alleen giftig voor organismen die onder water aangroeien op de boot, maar ook voor de overige organismen in het water.
    • Zeer Zorgwekkende Stoffen : Screening op aanwezigheid in het milieu

      van Leeuwen LC; ICH; M&V (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu RIVM, 2015-11-25)
      The Dutch government takes priority action in reducing emissions of substances of very high concern ('ZZS substances'). ZZS substances are for example carcinogenic substances and substances that are very persistent, bio-accumulate in organisms and are toxic (PBT-substances). Examples of these substances are the solvent benzene or brominated flame retardants. The Dutch policy on ZZS substances aims to minimize the emissions of these substances to the environment as much as possible, such that their environmental concentrations in the Netherlands are brought (or maintained) below a negligible risk level. RIVM investigated which ZZS are relevant in the Dutch environment. Relevant ZZS are the ZZS which are emitted to the environment due to production and use, unintentional formation or ZZS which are found in the environment. The analysis showed that many of the ZZS are (potentially) relevant because environmental emissions cannot be excluded. The relevant ZZS have a varied use pattern, which gives difficulties in defining the next step in the process. RIVM suggests a number of possibilities for further research, including researching dyes, research into policy possibilities for sound management of ZZS and comparing various prioritization methods for substances of concern.