Evaluating the chemical risks of a product with RCR Matrix

Effectively characterizing chemical risk is a difficult but important task to ensure consumer safety. Hazard, a function of a chemical’s inherent properties, and exposure, the quantity a person contacts, combine to give an accurate representation of risk. This evaluation is complicated, time-consuming and therefore often abandoned for the simpler hazard-only approach. This can lead to blanket-blacklisting of chemicals that may be difficult and or expensive to replace in products. A risk evaluation that is scientifically accurate and simple is highly valuable for manufacturers and consumers to assess the chemical risks of products.

RCR Matrix

When submitted on Makersite, chemicals are automatically enriched from multiple sources with all data necessary for risk characterization in compliance with the ECETOC TRA 3.1 tool. First, a screening is done on the recipe to identify chemicals that should be considered for a risk evaluation. This screening is done on the basis of a chemical’s GHS classification. If a chemical ingredient is identified for a risk evaluation, it is then run through the ECETOC algorithm to calculate risk. Chemical ingredients that are identified as chemicals of concern are then displayed to the user. The algorithm takes into account the chemical’s properties, its concentration in the product and the exposure scenarios for the consumer. We currently support only the inhalation route but will add oral and dermal routes soon.

In addition, we created a novel and simple way to visualize risk from a chemical when it is used in a range of products. We call it the RCR Matrix. For a given chemical, the matrix lists all the product groups in which the chemical could be used and their respective concentrations. Traffic lights tell the user at which concentration the chemical is safe to use for a given product. Manufacturers and consumers can thereby quickly identify if a chemical exposes the consumer to risk. It also shows the concentration level below which it would be safe to use, if at all.

Simplified chemical risks evaluation

Chemical risk evaluation is now as simple to carry out as its less meaningful, hazard-only alternative. Import or configure a recipe and the entire evaluation is carried out automatically. Scenario parameters can be set to specify usage context, otherwise defaults are used. While we currently support ECETOC TRA 3.1, we plan other calculation methods in the future.