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Protection of the environment from ionising radiation in a regulatory context (PROTECT): Review of current regulatory approaches to both chemicals and radioactive substances

  • J. Barescut, D. Copplestone (a1), P. Andersson (a2), N. Beresford (a3), J. Brown (a4), S. Dysvik (a4), J. Garnier-Laplace (a5), J. Hingston (a1), B. Howard (a3), D. Oughton (a6) and P. Whitehouse (a1)...


Assessment tools and frameworks have been developed that allow environmental assessments to be conducted and which can be used to demonstrate whether non-human species are protected from the impact of exposure to ionising radiation released under regulation. Frameworks are often tiered, increasing in the level of complexity, input data requirements and need for expert involvement as the assessment moves to successively higher tiers. These are, conceptually, similar to assessment approaches available for chemical risk assessment. What criteria (e.g. numeric benchmarks) should be used, and how these should be defined, are currently under debate, but it is likely that use will be made of approaches developed for setting assessment criteria for chemicals. However it will be necessary to ensure that any assessment criteria developed are fit for use in a regulatory context. This paper reviews the similarities and differences between regulation of, and assessment methods for, chemicals and radioactive substances and presents recommendations regarding how components of chemicals risk assessment may be adopted for radioactive substances.



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[1] ICRP Publication 103 Annals of the ICRP 37 (2007).
[2] ICRP Publication 60. Annals of the ICRP 21 (1991).
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[5] Beresford N.A., Beaugelin-Seiller K., Brown J.E., Copplestone D., Hosseini A. and Howard B.J. Radioprotection (this issue).
[6] Andersson P., Beaugelin-Seiller K., Beresford N.A., Copplestone D., Della Vedova C., Garnier-Laplace J., Howard B.J., Howe P. and Oughton D.H., Numerical benchmarks for protecting biota against radiation in the environment: proposed levels and underlying reasoning, Deliverable 5B (draft) of the EC PROTECT project (Contract Number: 036425 (FI6R)), Available from: (2008).
[7] Hingston J.L., Andersson P., Beresford N.A., Brown J., Copplestone D., Garnier-Laplace J., Howard B.J. and Whitehouse P. A review of approaches to protection of the environment from chemicals and ionising radiation: Requirements and recommendations for a common framework. Deliverable 3, PROTECT: Protection of the environment from ionising radiation in a regulatory context (contract number 036425 (FI6R)), (2007).
[8] Forbes V.E., Calow P. and Sibly R.M. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 20 (2001) 442–447.
[9] Beresford N., Brown J., Copplestone D., Garnier-Laplace J., Howard B., Larsson C-M., Oughton D., Prohl G. and Zinger I. D-ERICA: An integrated approach to the assessment and management of environmental risks from ionising radiation – Description of purpose, methodology and application. ERICA (Contract Number:FI6R-CT-2004-508847) pp 82 (2007).
[10] European Chemicals Bureau Technical Guidance Document in support of Commission Directive 93/67/EEC on Risk Assessment for new notified substances, Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 on Risk Assessment for existing substances and Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market. Part II. European Commission Joint Research Centre EUR 20418 EN/2 pp 328 (2003).


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