Moving towards safer alternatives

Quick Scan

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1. Elaborated by

Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment

2. Description

Quick Scan is a screening method developed by the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment as part of a new Chemicals policy to ensure that the potential risks and hazards associated with the use of substances in each stage of their life cycle are sufficiently controlled so as to remove, or to reduce to a negligible level, any harmful effects caused by substances on man or the environment.

Quick Scan describes measures to be taken for each chemical depending on their intrinsic hazard and potential exposure.

The method is developed in the following phases:

  1. Development of a hazard profile for each chemical considering their intrinsic properties and classification of chemicals into hazard categories. Hazardous properties included are:
    • Persistence
    • Bioaccumulation
    • Toxicity
    • Health damage
    • Carcinogenicity
    • Mutagenicity
    • Reproductive Toxicity
    • Endocrine disruption
  2. Classification of chemicals by level of concern (very high, high, concern, low, no data available=very high).Criteria for classification into hazard categories in relation to environment are based, when possible, on international agreements. The highest category of concern (Very High Concern) comply with the criteria laid down in the EU Interim Strategy for Management of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) and very persistent and very bioaccumulative (VPVB) Substances (document ENV/D/432048/01). These criteria are also in line with the criteria for persistent organic pollutants (POPs), as laid down in the UN Stockholm Convention. The criteria for the category High Concern are the same as those that apply to the initial selection of substances covered under the OSPAR strategy on hazardous substances (DYNAMEC: dynamic selection and prioritization mechanism for hazardous substances). The category Concern comply with EU classification and labeling criteria qualifying substances as ‘very toxic for aquatic organisms’ and ‘toxic for aquatic organisms; or ‘long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment’.The criteria for the hazard categories in relation to human health (He, C, M, R, and Ho) are based on the current European criteria for the classification of substances laid down in Annex VI of EU directive 67/548/EEC, and the prioritization strategy followed by the EURAM method within the framework of the Substances Regulation 793/93/EEC.Lack of data on these properties raises the level of concern. Chemicals with no information on P,B or T properties are considered of very high concern.
  3. Determining potential exposure according to use (intermediate chemicals used in closed environments, industrial use, consumer’s use, professional use).
  4. Definition of policy measures according to level of concern and potential exposure.

3. Reliability

The method is reliable considering the variety of parameters it examines. However, the main source of information comes from R phrases included in the European Regulation for labeling and classification of chemicals, therefore it does not consider updated scientific literature.

4. Applicability

Used only to assess and compare chemicals. Not valid to compare alternative processes or technologies. Most suitable for use by companies with professional expertise and policy decisions. It is applicable only to chemical hazards and risks.

5. User friendliness

This tool requires certain expertise and training to obtain the necessary information.

6. Limitations

Access to information on PBT properties is difficult. No criteria for identification of endocrine disrupting substances are included.

Since the method is based on R phrases, it  covers 7000 chemicals classified with such phrases, included in Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 CLP. However,  once the CLP inventory is published at the ECHA website, the classification of all substances placed on the EU market will be available independent of their registration status. Estimates can also be drawn using the description of hazards associated with R phrases if there is an additional source of information on the assessed risks. For these estimations a higher level of expertise would be recommended.

The method is not suitable for small and medium enterprises (SME).

7. Availability

The method can be downloaded free of charge from the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial planning and Environment’s website.

8. Links

Go to:

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Restricted and priority substances database» link
Case story database » link

External substitution websites and databases
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