EFSA-RIVM Symposium: the future of risk assessment and toxicity testing for chemical mixtures

Utrecht, Netherlands
18 May 2016

Every day, we are exposed to a mixture of substances via food, the air and our skin. Much progress has been made in developing methods for assessing the risk to public health of such exposure to multiple chemicals. EFSA and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) will hold a symposium in May that aims to present and discuss the state of the art of such methods.

Currently, test strategies for assessing the safety of chemicals consider one compound at a time. Such strategies depend heavily on animal testing. We face two inter-related problems: 1) there is no efficient test strategy for mixtures; and 2) we need to develop a new test strategy that will meet public demands to reduce animal testing.

Scientific experts, risk assessors and risk managers have been supporting research programmes to further develop and improve new methodologies for mixture testing.

EFSA, supported by RIVM and other European partners, has taken a major step forward in its work on assessing the risks from exposure to multiple pesticides, and implementation of these risk assessment methodologies is ongoing at EFSA and at the European Commission. However, further work is still needed to continue to refine the methodologies and to apply them to other groups of substances (e.g. metals and other contaminants).

Against this background, RIVM and EFSA have organised an international symposium to reflect on the state of play in research with regards to the risk assessment of chemical mixtures. The meeting will bring together Dutch researchers, scientists, stakeholders and policy-makers, and their European and international peers to discuss scientific progress in the field of evaluating exposure to mixtures of pesticides and to address new challenges in mixture testing for a broad range of chemicals. The aim is to report on scientific progress in the whole area of chemical mixture risk assessment and to discuss the feasibility and prioritisation for future testing in Europe and beyond.

The symposium will focus on the following topics:

  • The state of play regarding implementation of cumulative risk assessment of pesticides in Europe.
  • Enhancing knowledge on efficient toxicity testing of chemical mixtures while reducing animal testing.
  • How new testing technology will improve understanding of mixture toxicity and human risk assessment.

Date and venue

18-19 May 2016, Jaarbeurs Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The symposium will be held in the conference centre of Jaarbeurs Utrecht. It is centrally located in the city of Utrecht, close to the city’s main railway station (Utrecht Central Station) and the historical city centre. There are hotels within walking distance of the venue, which is also easily accessible by public transport.  

Practical information  


For further information, please email: EFSA-RIVM.symposium [at] rivm.nl