On March 26-27, 2019, the two EU Horizon2020 funded research projects EDC-MixRisk (FPF reported) and EuroMix (FPF reported) held a joint stakeholder workshop titled “The Chemical Cocktail Challenge” in Brussels, Belgium. The program for the two-day event included presentations on key outcomes from both projects as well as talks from external stakeholders such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on their perspectives of the project outcomes.

In opening remarks for the workshop, Sabine Julicher from the EU Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) highlighted the importance of implementing research program findings into policy decisions and noted that cumulative and synergistic effects are mandated to be taken into account when approving active pesticide substances and setting maximum residue limits (MRLs). However, she said that the efforts needed to actually do this have been widely underestimated. Maria Pilar Aguar Fernandez from the EU Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) stressed the importance of scientists’ responsibility to make science fit for regulatory purposes. She also called for stakeholders to work together on implementing these outcomes into policy making and harmonizing risk assessment.

Work package leaders from both projects went on to present key outcomes and outline potential next steps. Overarching conclusions from the EDC-MixRisk project found that “current regulations of man-made chemicals systematically underestimate health risks associated with combined exposures to [endocrine disrupting chemicals] (EDCs) or potential EDCs.” In the future, the project recommends that “regulatory requirements should take mixtures and combined exposures into account in all relevant EU chemicals and environmental legislation.” The EuroMix project “aimed to establish novel testing and assessment strategies for chemical mixtures, to develop appropriate mixture risk assessment methodology and to implement this in a well-accessible inter-operational data and model platform.” Many of the models and tools developed during the project are now publicly available through the online toolbox and document repository.

A topic that often came up during the stakeholder discussions following the presentations was the appropriate implementation of additional assessment factors to consider mixture toxicity during risk assessment. Participants expressed different views regarding how such factors should be implemented and as to what an appropriate scale for such a factor would be. The ongoing development of methodologies to support setting evidence-based assessment factors was also presented by project leaders.

Both research projects run until May 2019, and remaining project results will be published on the projects’ respective websites. The presentations given at the stakeholder workshop have been published on the EuroMix projects’ website (see links embedded in the pdf program).

Read more

EDC-MixRisk (2019). “Safe chemicals for future generations.”

EDC-MixRisk (2019). “Policy Brief.” (pdf)

EuroMix (2019). “A tiered strategy for risk assessment of mixtures of multiple chemicals.”

Health and Environmental Alliance (March 26, 2019). “Health risks associated with combined exposures to endocrine disruptors are systematically underestimated, shows EU research project.”

EurekAlert (March 26, 2019). “Health risks associated with mixtures of man-made chemicals are underestimated.”

Chemical Watch (March 28, 2019). “EDC-MixRisk finds relevant chemical mixtures for risk assessment.”

Ninja Reineke (April 3, 2019). “The Chemical Cocktail: new research on mixture effects points to urgent need for action.” ChemTrust