MERAG 2016


With their extensive background in metals risk assessments, the people of ARCHE Consulting were contracted by the European Metals Industry to compile a guidance document for the environmental risk assessment of metals and inorganic metal compounds.

The main sponsors of the MERAG project were:

The Metals Environmental Risk Assessment Guidance (MERAG) document was initially published in 2007 as the result of extensive collaboration between industry, the scientific community and governments to consolidate the knowledge that had been built on how best to assess metals.

Since its publication, MERAG has been instrumental in ensuring that minerals and metals are produced and used safely around the world. This spans a broad range of applications: from its use in official guidance to the EU’s landmark Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach) regulation in Europe, to the UN’s Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and even the regulations that govern marine transport of cargoes.

MERAG set out the critical requirements for appropriate assessment of metals in a series of fact sheets, which were peer reviewed by leading independent scientists. These were intended to be living documents in recognition that the science would evolve as concepts were applied and refined, and new approaches would emerge.

Accordingly, over the past two years we have renewed the collaboration that gave rise to MERAG, screened the original document and conducted a thorough update of the fact sheets as needed. Six of the original eight have been updated and a new fact sheet added – on applying a weight-of-evidence approach. These have all been subject to independent review once more, and all are now freely available for all to use, adapt and apply to their own scenarios at their operations or in creating their policies and regulation. As before, our intention is that this guidance will evolve as new concepts develop and experience is gained in applying them. Accordingly, we welcome feedback and encourage the users and readers of MERAG to provide us with examples of its application that we can share as appropriate.

To request printed copies of the report, please e-mail


MERAG Overview 2016
Fact sheet 1: Risk Characterization – general aspects (updated version 2016)
Fact sheet 2: Exposure Assessment (updated version 2016)
Fact sheet 5: Bioavailability – Water, Soils and Sediments
Fact sheet 7: Uncertainty Analysis
Fact sheet 9: Weight of evidence approach (2016)