In a review published on July 12, 2013, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stresses the importance of chemical mixture toxicity for efficient risk assessment. The publication reviews international frameworks for chemical mixture assessment and is part of an effort of harmonizing terminology and methodology for risk assessors. EFSA recommends taking both toxicity of and exposure to chemicals into account when evaluating mixture toxicity. In addition, the agency suggests categorizing chemicals based on mechanisms of toxicity, further investigating bodily elimination processes, and developing mathematical and biological models to predict bodily break-down and elimination processes.

Current risk assessment practice focuses on one substance at a time. EFSA has started to introduce cumulative toxicity in its risk assessment and published a scientific opinion on pesticides to be included in cumulative assessment groups on July 12, 2013. Food contact substances continue to be evaluated individually.

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EFSA press release


EFSA (2013). “International Frameworks Dealing with Human Risk Assessment of Combined Exposure to Multiple Chemicals.” EFSA journal 11(7):3313.