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Risk at a glance

10/2013, 19.04.2013

The new BfR risk profile graphically combines the results of scientific risk assessments

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) prepares health assessments for the areas of food, consumer products and chemicals. These scientific opinions are then published on the BfR website together with easily understandable lead paragraphs. As a new service, the results of the opinions will be summarised graphically in future on the BfR website. "In this way, the readers and affected consumer groups will be able to grasp the severity of possible health impairments, the data basis and the controllability of the risk quickly and easily," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "BfR risk profiles enhance the transparency of scientific risk assessment for laymen and experts alike". The risk profile was presented today at the joint symposium ´What really does threaten our lives? Statistical assessment of health risks` organised by the German Consortium in Statistics (DAGStat) and the BfR.

The conveyance of scientific assessments in a clear and concise manner is the main focus of BfR risk profiles. With the risk profile, the readers can quickly recognise the circumstances and main characteristics of the risk assessed in the BfR opinion. The chart is structured as a table containing the following information: affected groups of persons, probability and severity of impaired health in the event of exposure, validity of the available data and possibilities for consumers to control the risk through such measures as avoidance or caution.

BfR risk profiles offer value added to all addressees of the BfR opinions. The graphic presentation of the risk characteristics increases the transparency of BfR risk assessments through standardised terminology, thus improving comprehensibility. An illustration of the risk profile, the opinions with the risk profile already added and other information can be found on the BfR homepage at

The BfR risk profile was developed by the BfR in various internal and external test phases in cooperation with scientists from various disciplines. It now enters a three-month evaluation phase during which readers can send their comments on the BfR risk profile to the BfR at

Risk profiles supplement BfR opinions and are based on the BfR Guideline for Health Assessments. They will be contained in future in all suitable opinions published by the BfR in the internet. Their purpose is not, however, to compare various risks with one another and they should only be read in conjunction with the related opinion.

About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.


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