Skip to main content

Grouping chemicals for joint assessments – have your say!

food pattern

Grouping chemicals from across the food and feed safety spectrum to do assessments of ‘chemical mixtures’ is the goal of draft EFSA guidance issued for public consultation today.

People, animals and the environment can be exposed to multiple chemicals from a variety of sources at the same time. The draft document is the latest instalment in our long-term strategy to deploy tools and approaches for assessing risks from chemical mixtures. These can complement our assessments of individual substances in specific regulatory areas, e.g. pesticides, contaminants, food additives.

The draft guidance document proposes:

  • Using ‘ hazard A substance or activity which has the potential to cause adverse effects to living organisms or environments.-driven’ criteria to define groups of chemicals based in the first instance on toxicity The potential of a substance to cause harm to a living organism. information about their behaviour in humans. If this kind of information is lacking, they can be grouped based on their common effects on humans, e.g. all the relevant chemicals that damage the liver (EFSA already uses this approach to assesses the cumulative risks of groups of pesticides)
  • Since there are many possible combinations of chemicals, methods to prioritise chemical groups are needed. These can be both risk-based (i.e. taking account of both their hazardous properties and human exposure Concentration or amount of a particular substance that is taken in by an individual, population or ecosystem in a specific frequency over a certain amount of time. to them), or solely exposure-driven.

The draft guidance contains case studies to illustrate the practical application of hazard-driven criteria and the use of prioritisation methods for grouping of chemicals.

Our scientists would like to receive feedback from experts and practitioners in chemical risk assessment  A specialised field of applied science that involves reviewing scientific data and studies in order to evaluate risks associated with certain hazards. It involves four steps: hazard identification, hazard characterisation, exposure assessment and risk characterisation. as well as other people and organisations with an interest in this complex and fast-moving area of food safety.

The guidance is a follow up to EFSA’s ‘MixTox’ guidance which created the methodological framework to assess combined exposure to multiple chemicals. This work will be the focus of an EFSA workshop with European and international partners scheduled to take place in late 2021.

How to contact us

EFSA Media Relations Office

Tel. +39 0521 036 149

E-mail: press [at] (Press[at]efsa[dot]europa[dot]eu)

(Only if you are a member of the press)

Ask a Question Service

You have a question about EFSA’s work? Contact our Ask a Question service!

Ask a Question Service