Although risk and hazard are sometimes used interchangeably, they are fundamentally different: anything that can cause harm represents a hazard, whereas risk describes the chance of harm being done – in terms of both the likelihood of harm, and the extent of that harm. To understand this difference is crucial when regulating potentially harmful substances.
This snapshot examines why people are generally risk-averse and how EU regulators manage and assess risk to safeguard its citizens and the environment while allowing them to benefit from technologies and innovation. Using the recent example of the herbicide glyphosate, we showcase the complexities of risk assessment and investigate how it fits with the precautionary principle.
Caroline Vogt is Senior Consultant in FTI Consulting’s Agri-Chemicals team in Brussels.