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Critical Review of "Metals Environmental Risk Assessment Guidance for Metals" (MERAG)

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Risk assessment of metals may need specific guidance in how to handle natural background, essentiality, and long historical use of metals. It may also be necessary to take bio-availability into account. The aim of the present project was to critically review proposals on principles for risk assessment of metals (MERAG), developed by the metals industry, in co-operation with the UK Government during 2005-2006. The different MERAG proposals were reviewed by different Nordic consultancies, and their views are summarised in the report. The project was initiated and coordinated by the Nordic Risk Assessment Project (NORAP), which receives funding from the Nordic Chemicals group, a subgroup to the Nordic Council of Ministers. This review was considered urgent, in order to be prepared for a possible proposal to implement the MERAG principles within the Technical Guidance Document on Chemical Safety Assessment, which is developed for use under the REACH regulation.

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The working procedure

The individual fact sheets have been reviewed by different Nordic consultancies. The reviewers presented their draft opinions at a workshop in Oslo at end of February 2006, which also was attended by some external experts and delegates from the NORAP steering group. The final evaluation reports of the reviewers, including the discussions from the Osloworkshop, are added to this summary report as independent annexes (Annex 1-8). These annexes are stand-alone documents. Based on the annexes the NORAP steering group has made an overall summary in Chapter 3 of this report. Hence, the standpoints in the document do not necessarily reflect the formal position of the authorities of the Nordic countries.

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