Consumer exposure to chemical substances

Consumers are frequently exposed to chemical substances in or released from everyday consumer products like paint, cosmetics, deodorant and-, cleaning products. Chemical substances in these products are not allowed to be a concern for human health.

To assess the risk of a consumer product, it is very important to know the exposure to chemicals in these products. Exposure to chemical substances during use of consumer products is mainly determined by the way the product is used (exposure scenario), the concentration of the substance in the product and the release of the substance from the product during use. However, no such measurement data are available.

RIVM is involved in development of methods to determine the safety of chemical substances. For consumer products, RIVM has developed the ConsExpo model, a model that mathematically predicts human exposure to consumer products. With the use of ConsExpo, both manufacturers as well and researchers are able to predict to what amount consumers are exposed to chemical substances in a consumer product.

Main commissioning bodies

The main commissioning bodies for RIVM with respect to consumer products and consumer exposure are the Dutch Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority (NVWA), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) as well as the European Commission (EC). Collaborations in this field are contracted with Wageningen University where product use is evaluated as well as with RIKILT and MESA+ that performs measurements of (nano) substances in consumer products.

A new web-based version of the computer program ConsExpo will be developed in 2015-2016. The update of the program, ConsExpo version 2015.0, will be realised by RIVM in collaboration with the counterpart institutes ANSES (France), BfR (Germany), BAG (Switzerland) and Health Canada.

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