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Wojcik, A., Hamza, K., Lundegard, I., Enghag, M., Haglund, K., Arvanitis, L. & Schenk, L. (2019). Educating about radiation risks in high schools: towards improved public understanding of the complexity of low-dose radiation health effects. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, 58(1), 13-20
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Educating about radiation risks in high schools: towards improved public understanding of the complexity of low-dose radiation health effects
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2019 (English)In: Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, ISSN 0301-634X, E-ISSN 1432-2099, Vol. 58, no 1, p. 13-20Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The levels of stochastic health effects following exposure to low doses of ionising radiation are not well known. A consequence of the uncertainty is that any radiation exposure is met with deep concernboth by the public and by scientists who disagree about how the partly conflicting results from low-dose studies should be interpreted. The concern is not limited to ionising radiation but is inherent to other areas of modern technologies such as biotechnology or electromagnetic fields. The everyday presence of advanced technologies confronts people with the necessity to take decisions and there is an ongoing debate regarding both the nature and magnitude of potential risks and how education efforts may empower peoples ' decision-making. In the field of radiation research there are different opinions regarding the optimal education methods, spanning from the idea that peoples' fears will be eliminated by introducing dose thresholds below which the risk is assumed to be zero, to suggestions of concentrating research efforts in an attempt to eliminate all uncertainties regarding the effects of low doses. The aim of this paper was to present our approach which is based on developing an education program at the secondary school level where students learn to understand the role of science in society. Teaching about radiation risk as a socio-scientific issue is not based on presenting facts but on showing risks in a broader perspective aiming at developing students' competency in making decisions based on informed assessment. We hope to stimulate and encourage other researchers to pursue similar approaches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER, 2019
Keywords
Risk, Low doses, Education, Stochastic effect, Cancer
National Category
Didactics Biophysics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-246251 (URN)10.1007/s00411-018-0763-4 (DOI)000459547400002 ()30467641 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85057138197 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190403

Available from: 2019-04-03 Created: 2019-04-03 Last updated: 2019-04-03Bibliographically approved
Schenk, L., Hamza, K. M., Enghag, M., Lundegård, I., Arvanitis, L., Haglund, K. & Wojcik, A. (2019). Teaching and discussing about risk: seven elements of potential significance for science education. International Journal of Science Education, 41(9), 1271-1286
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teaching and discussing about risk: seven elements of potential significance for science education
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2019 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 41, no 9, p. 1271-1286Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present paper takes its point of departure in risk being a relevant content for science education, and that there are many different approaches to how to incorporate it. By reviewing the academic literature on the use and definitions of risk from fields such as engineering, linguistics and philosophy, we identified key elements of the risk concept relevant for science education. Risk is a phenomenon of the future that may be conveyed by our activity, it is something that may or may not take place. Hence, at the core of risk we find uncertainty and consequence. Furthermore, the elements of probability and severity are relevant modifiers of the consequence, as well as both subject to uncertainty. Additionally, in framing, understanding and decision-making on risk, as individuals or society, we need to acknowledge that risk has both objective and subjective components, lying in the interface between knowledge and values. In this paper, we describe how these key elements were derived from the literature and derive a schematic model of the risk concept for the purpose of science education. We further discuss how this model may assist in planning, execution and evaluation of teaching activities explicitly or implicitly involving risk issues.

Keywords
models & modelling, nature of science, philosophy of science, science, Scientific literacy, society, technology
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-251877 (URN)10.1080/09500693.2019.1606961 (DOI)2-s2.0-85064744119 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190527

Available from: 2019-05-27 Created: 2019-05-27 Last updated: 2019-05-27Bibliographically approved
Schenk, L. & Johanson, G. (2019). Will worker DNELs derived under the European REACH regulation extend the landscape of occupational exposure guidance values?. Archives of Toxicology, 93(5), 1187-1200
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Will worker DNELs derived under the European REACH regulation extend the landscape of occupational exposure guidance values?
2019 (English)In: Archives of Toxicology, ISSN 0340-5761, E-ISSN 1432-0738, Vol. 93, no 5, p. 1187-1200Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Derived no-effect levels for workers (wDNELs) under the European REACH legislation have many aspects in common with occupational exposure limits (OELs). In an attempt to examine under which circumstances wDNELs might be used as exposure guidance outside their intended application, we compared derivation methods, coverage of substances and numerical values of wDNELs against two regulatory OEL lists (European Commission and Sweden) and three sets of recommendations (European SCOEL, German MAK and US ACGIH). Finally, we looked closer at wDNELs where SCOEL concluded that data were insufficient to derive an OEL. Major differences between wDNELs and OELs include regulatory background, intended use, actors involved, substance selection criteria, transparency and procedure of derivation, and operationalisation in terms of risk management measures. As of summer 2018, approximately five times more substances were covered by wDNELs than by the five sets of OELs examined herein. Meanwhile, many occupationally relevant pollutants were not covered by wDNELs, e.g. one-third of Swedish OELs lack corresponding wDNELs. We also note that wDNELs and OELs for the same substance may vary considerably, up to several orders of magnitude. In conclusion, with extensive substance coverage, wDNELs extend the landscape beyond the OELs. That said, important limitations are (1) that many air pollutants relevant for workers' health are not covered by REACH, and (2) concerns for inconsistencies in the derivation of wDNELs and in their level of protection. In particular, that route-to-route extrapolation is a common practice that may be grossly misleading when the effect of concern is local, e.g. sensitisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2019
Keywords
Health risk assessment, Industrial hygiene, Maximum allowable concentration, Route-to-route extrapolation, Uncertainty factors, TLV
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-254115 (URN)10.1007/s00204-019-02439-0 (DOI)000469762400002 ()30993379 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85064631359 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190620

Available from: 2019-06-20 Created: 2019-06-20 Last updated: 2019-06-20Bibliographically approved
Schenk, L. & Johanson, G. (2018). Use of uncertainty factors by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits: a follow-up. Critical reviews in toxicology, 48(7), 513-521
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Use of uncertainty factors by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits: a follow-up
2018 (English)In: Critical reviews in toxicology, ISSN 1040-8444, E-ISSN 1547-6898, Vol. 48, no 7, p. 513-521Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Decision on the safety margin, for instance by using uncertainty factors (UFs), is a key aspect in setting Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs). We analyzed the UFs in 128 OEL recommendations from the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL). We investigated factors expected to potentially influence the UFs, as well as a selection of factors that might influence how expert groups perceive quality or reliability of key studies. We extracted UFs explicitly stated in the recommendations (EUFs) and, when EUFs were missing, calculated an implicit safety margin (ISM) by dividing the point of departure (PoD) by the OEL. EUFs and ISMs were lower for recommendations based on human data than those based on animal data. EUFs and ISMs were also lower for No-Observed Adverse Effect Concentrations (NOAECs) than Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Concentrations (LOAECs). We saw no differences based on local vs systemic critical effects. Acute data resulted in lower EUFs and ISMs than subchronic. We saw no influence from status of key study (publication status, performer or funder), but high tonnage substances (1,000,000+ tonnes) have lower EUFs and ISMs than substances currently not registered under REACH. Although SCOEL methodology stated that UF should be documented, only 65 out of 128 OEL recommendations included an EUF. Indeed, the ratio of EUFs to ISMs even decreased from 1991-2003 to 2004-2017. Additionally, EUFs were, on average, 1.8 times higher than ISMs. We conclude that a more articulate framework for using UFs could enhance consistency and transparency of the SCOEL recommendations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2018
Keywords
Assessment factor, safety factor, risk assessment, occupational health and safety, chemicals regulation
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-241024 (URN)10.1080/10408444.2018.1483891 (DOI)000453847600001 ()29987986 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85058777296 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20190107

Available from: 2019-01-07 Created: 2019-01-07 Last updated: 2019-01-07Bibliographically approved
Schenk, L., Deng, U. & Johanson, G. (2015). Derived No-effect Levels (DNELs) under the European Chemicals Regulation REACH-An Analysis of Long-term Inhalation Worker-DNELs Presented by Industry. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 59(4), 416-438
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Derived No-effect Levels (DNELs) under the European Chemicals Regulation REACH-An Analysis of Long-term Inhalation Worker-DNELs Presented by Industry
2015 (English)In: Annals of Occupational Hygiene, ISSN 0003-4878, E-ISSN 1475-3162, Vol. 59, no 4, p. 416-438Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The European REACH regulation places responsibility for providing safety information, including derived no-effect levels (DNELs), on chemicals and chemical products on 'industry', i.e. manufacturers and importers. We compared long-term inhalation worker-DNELs (wDNELs) presented by industry with the corresponding Swedish occupational exposure limits (OELs), and for a subset, with wDNELs derived by us. Our wDNELs were derived using toxicological evaluations published by the Swedish Criteria Group and our interpretation of the REACH Guidance. On average, industry's wDNELs were the same as the Swedish OELs (median of wDNEL-OEL ratios: 0.98, n = 235). However, the variation was huge, the extremes being up to 450 times higher, and up to 230 times lower than the corresponding OEL. Nearly one-fifth of the wDNELs were = 2 times higher and one-third = 2 times lower than the OEL. No time trend was seen in the wDNEL/OEL ratios, suggesting that older OELs were not systematically higher than the more recent ones. Industry's wDNELs varied widely and were generally higher (median 4.2 times, up to 435 times higher, down to 13 times lower, n = 23) also compared to our wDNELs. Only five industry wDNELs were equal to or lower than ours. The choices of key studies, dose descriptors, and assessment factors all seemed to contribute to the discrepancies. We conclude that although the REACH guidance is detailed, many choices that will influence the wDNEL lack firm instructions. A major problem is that little advice is given on when and how to depart from default assessment factors.

Keywords
derived no-effect level, occupational exposure limit, REACH, risk assessment
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-169971 (URN)10.1093/annhyg/meu103 (DOI)000355625800003 ()25471229 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84929483906 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2012-0294
Note

QC 20150626

Available from: 2015-06-26 Created: 2015-06-25 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
Schenk, L. & Antonsson, A.-B. (2015). Implementation of the chemicals regulation REACH: Exploring the impact on occupational health and safety management among Swedish downstream users. Safety Science, 80, 233-242
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Implementation of the chemicals regulation REACH: Exploring the impact on occupational health and safety management among Swedish downstream users
2015 (English)In: Safety Science, ISSN 0925-7535, E-ISSN 1879-1042, Vol. 80, p. 233-242Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present study we have examined how the European chemicals regulation Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has influenced occupational risk management of chemicals at Swedish downstream user companies. The data were collected through interviews with occupational health and safety professionals, safety representatives and authority employees. The results show that most of the informants had scarce knowledge about REACH and that REACH implementation has not had any major impacts on downstream users’ occupational risk management, but the impacts the regulation has had were perceived as positive. For instance, clear substance identification and increased hazard information were appreciated improvements of safety data sheets (SDS). However, with regards to identifying how to safely use a substance or product neither the SDSs nor the attached exposure scenarios were perceived as sufficient. REACH was not perceived as a major driver for substitution but has had some impact on substitution, either by requiring it for certain substances as through the authorisation procedure or facilitating the identification of relevant substances to substitute as more information on hazards has become available. The obstacles to REACH implementation are similar to those of occupational health and safety legislation; lack of awareness, understanding and/or incentives to take action. Especially smaller companies with their limited resources lag behind. Reaching the full potential of REACH requires more work on motivating and supporting downstream users to fulfil their REACH obligations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
Keywords
REACH, Occupational health and safety, Policy implementation, Safety data sheets, Exposure scenario
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-172655 (URN)10.1016/j.ssci.2015.08.001 (DOI)000361920600024 ()2-s2.0-84939791473 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Note

QC 20150901

Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-08-27 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
Westerholm, E. & Schenk, L. (2014). Comparative analysis of toxicological evaluations for dermal exposure performed under two different EU regulatory frameworks. Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology, 68(1), 51-58
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Comparative analysis of toxicological evaluations for dermal exposure performed under two different EU regulatory frameworks
2014 (English)In: Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology, ISSN 0273-2300, E-ISSN 1096-0295, Vol. 68, no 1, p. 51-58Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dermal exposure to chemicals is highly relevant in relation to the use of cosmetic products, both in consumers and in individuals exposed occupationally. Regulatory frameworks exist within the EU to limit the dermal exposure of the general population and workers to chemicals in general, as well as to limit the use of certain substances in cosmetic products. The objective of the study was to investigate and compare toxicological evaluations of dermal exposure performed under current regulatory frameworks. The publicly disseminated hazard information under the respective regulatory frameworks was compiled and compared for the five substances resorcinol, p-phenylenediamine, p-aminophenol, N-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine, and diethylene glycol monoethyl ether. A low consistency between evaluations was observed in respect to data coverage and cited dose descriptors. No systematic differences over all five substances were identified from the viewpoint of dermal hazard assessment. The critical effect and corresponding systemic effect dose descriptor was identical for two substances, differed somewhat for two other (a factor of 2-2.5). For N-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine a critical effect was only identified under REACH.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keywords
Regulation, Derived no effect levels, Risk management, Cosmetics regulation, REACH
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-136184 (URN)10.1016/j.yrtph.2013.11.006 (DOI)000330601500006 ()2-s2.0-84889663997 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Note

QC 20140310

Available from: 2013-12-04 Created: 2013-12-04 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
Schenk, L. & Wester, M. (2014). Covert chemicals, tangible trust: Risk management of chemicals in the workplace. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 12(1), 91-106
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Covert chemicals, tangible trust: Risk management of chemicals in the workplace
2014 (English)In: Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, ISSN 1477-3996, E-ISSN 1477-4003, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 91-106Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, as in other industrialised nations, occupational exposure limits are considered to be an important tool for chemical risk management, although many other factors also play a role in occupational safety and health management. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of occupational exposure limits in relation to information about, and the risk perception of, chemicals. An interview study was performed at four Swedish process industry workplaces in order to investigate these issues. For each workplace, the range of informants covered at least one person who spent most of their working time in the production process; one person in a managerial position; one person in the site health, safety and environment department; the main safety ombudsman; and the site manager. The results show that informants' understanding of occupational exposure limits and their use is quite poor, although they do understand that there is epistemic uncertainty in determining the toxicological effects of hazardous substances. The risk perception and safety behaviour of the informants were not affected by the occupational exposure limits, nor did occupational exposure limits have any role as sources of information. Nevertheless, almost all the informants expressed the view that occupational exposure limits are trusted and needed; safety engineers and main safety ombudsmen, generally, also added that occupational exposure limits are useful. What was found to be most important factor for the informants' perception of risk and safety was trust in specific people, often established through long-term relationships.

Keywords
Chemical safety, Occupational exposure limits, Personal protective equipment, Risk management, Workplace health
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-161794 (URN)2-s2.0-84901592035 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20150317

Available from: 2015-03-17 Created: 2015-03-17 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
Schenk, L., Ding, Q. & Hansson, S. O. (2014). Science and policy in risk-based occupational exposure limits. Paper presented at 50th Congress of the European-Societies-of-Toxicology, SEP 07-10, 2014, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND. Toxicology Letters, 229, 120-120
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Science and policy in risk-based occupational exposure limits
2014 (English)In: Toxicology Letters, ISSN 0378-4274, E-ISSN 1879-3169, Vol. 229, p. 120-120Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-153256 (URN)10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.06.432 (DOI)000341134000379 ()
Conference
50th Congress of the European-Societies-of-Toxicology, SEP 07-10, 2014, Edinburgh, SCOTLAND
Note

QC 20141009

Available from: 2014-10-09 Created: 2014-10-03 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
Ding, Q., Schenk, L. & Hansson, S. O. (2014). Setting Risk-Based Occupational Exposure Limits for Non-Threshold Carcinogens. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 20(5), 1329-1344
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Setting Risk-Based Occupational Exposure Limits for Non-Threshold Carcinogens
2014 (English)In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 20, no 5, p. 1329-1344Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several regulators have recently issued so-called risk-based occupational exposure limits for carcinogenic substances, and also reported estimates of the risk of fatality that exposure to the limit value would give rise to. This practice provides an opportunity to study how differences in the exposure limits set by different regulators are influenced by differences in the scientific judgment (what is the risk at different levels?) and in the policy judgment (how should large risks be accepted?). Based on a broad search, a list was compiled of exposure limits for carcinogens that the respective regulator associates with a numerical risk estimate. For benzene, such data was available from six regulators. The differences in estimates of the risk/exposure relationship and in risk tolerance were about equal in size for benzene, while the range for acceptability was somewhat wider. A similar pattern was observed, although less clearly, for substances with data from only two or three regulators. It is concluded that the science factor and the policy factor both contribute to differences in exposure limits for carcinogens. It was not possible to judge which of these two factors has the larger influence.

Keywords
science-policy relation, carcinogens, occupational exposure limits, acceptable risk, scientific uncertainty, chemicals regulation
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-127265 (URN)10.1080/10807039.2013.842733 (DOI)000333948700013 ()2-s2.0-84897900701 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
Note

QC 20140509

Available from: 2013-08-28 Created: 2013-08-28 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-3799-4814

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