In an article published on February 27, 2020, regulatory news provider Chemical Watch reported on a call by the Swedish Ministry of Environment for public comment on its published report on improving the group-wise management of hazardous chemicals and consideration of “combination effects” (mixture toxicity) in regulatory risk assessment. The report itself provides a set of 11 recommendations for chemical regulators to adapt to the increasing complexity of chemical exposures today, which involve diffuse mixtures of multiple pollutants often present at low concentrations.

Overall, the report found that “significant improvements of the current system for chemicals control are needed in order to keep up with scientific progress as well as the dynamics of chemical discovery and use.” Specifically, the recommendations include: introducing legal requirements for mixture risk assessment across EU chemicals legislation, setting up a public database tracking the uses and emissions of chemicals, creation of a large-scale research program to investigate real-life exposure to chemical mixtures, introducing clear legal requirements to explore substitution options, and increasing the use of grouping as a tool for risk assessment and management.

The Swedish ministry has already contacted a set of companies and civil society groups soliciting their input on the report including H&M, Ikea, Coop, and Greenpeace. All stakeholders are invited to submit feedback on the report until May 29, 2020.

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Chemical Watch (February 27, 2020). “Sweden consults on chemical ‘cocktail effect’ report.”

Swedish Ministry of Environment (February 19, 2020). “Remiss om Framtidens kemikaliekontroll – Hantering av kombinationseffekter och gruppvis hantering av ämnen (SOU 2019:45).”