China Develops Risk Assessment Standards for Consumer Products Safety

04/02/2020

From December 2019 to January 2020, SAC/TC508 (Consumer Products Safety) was calling for comments on three recommended national standards for consumer products safety, as follows,

  • GB/T Consumer products safety – general requirements on physical hazards assessment (hereinafter, the “physical hazards standard”)
  • GB/T Guidelines of risk assessment for chemical hazards in consumer products (hereinafter, the “chemical hazards standard”)
  • GB/T Chemical hazards in consumer products – hazards characterization and exposure assessment (hereinafter, the “characterization standard”)

 

 

In terms of physical hazards assessment, although China had issued GB/T 22760-2008 General principles for risk assessment of consumer product safety in 2008 to guide the consumer products risk assessment work, the standard just describes the risk assessment process but does not specify the assessment methods, resulting in the lack of specific process guidance in practical operation. The physical hazards standard adds two risk assessment examples for mechanical hazards and electromagnetic radiation hazards in its informative annexes, giving reference to the risk assessment work for the two kinds of hazards in practice.

 

In terms of chemical hazards assessment, China has issued a general standard: GB/T 34708-2017 general principles for risk assessment of chemicals. In order to guide the chemical hazards risk assessment work in the consumer products field, SAC/TC508 developed the chemical hazards standard. The standard will be used together with the characterization standard which for the first time provides the main approaches and estimation models for the characterization process and exposure assessment of chemical hazards in consumer products.

 

Due to developed countries already having established their risk monitoring and control systems for non-food consumer products based on risk control theory, like the EU’s RAPEX system and the US’ NEISS system, and developed corresponding methods and procedures for hazards risk assessment in consumer products field, China is following the trend and developing its own risk assessment standards, to some extent, using EU’s experiences for reference, e.g. ECB. Technical Guidance Document on Risk Assessment, ECHA. Guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment, ECETOC. Targeted Risk Assessment, Technical report no. 93, etc.  It is necessary to further study these standards and identify their differences from EU’s counterparts to facilitate market access for consumer products in China.