The principle of the chemical safety assessment (CSA) is to determine that all chemicals are “fit for purpose” based on the assumption that all chemical substances may be used safely, even if they are highly hazardous, provided that exposure can be maintained below acceptable limits. This principle thus differentiates between risk, and hazard, as follows.

Risk = Hazard × Exposure

This equation gives a useful qualitative appreciation of how risk can be managed through an understanding of the intrinsic properties of a chemical substance or mixture (hazard, eg flammable, skin irritant), and the potentially numerous circumstances under which it comes into contact with living things (exposure).

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