Advance the assessment of chemical mixtures - a clear statement by 26 experts
FRAM researcher Thomas Backhaus and a group of 25 other experts met in May in a workshop to advance the assessment of chemical mixtures and their risk for human health and the environment. Now the workshop results are presented as a scientific publication in the Environment International.
A group of researchers and policy makers, including FRAM researcher Thomas Backhaus, met in a workshop called “Advancing the Assessment of Chemical Mixtures and their Risks for Human Health and the Environment” in May 2018. The workshop was organised together with Joint Research Center in Ispra, EU-funded research projects and Commission Services and relevant EU agencies. The aim was to discuss and identify gaps in risk assessment and governance of chemical mixtures as well as to discuss state of the art science and future research needs. Based on the presentations and the discussions at the workshop, the experts want to bring forward the following Key Messages:
- We are at a turning point: multiple exposures and their combined effects require better management to protect public health and the environment from hazardous chemical mixtures.
- Regulatory initiatives should be launched to investigate the opportunities for all relevant regulatory frameworks to include prospective mixture risk assessment and consider combined exposures to (real-life) chemical mixtures to humans and wildlife, across sectors.
- Precautionary approaches and intermediate measures (e.g. Mixture Assessment Factor) can already be applied, although, definitive mixture risk assessments cannot be routinely conducted due to significant knowledge and data gaps.
- A European strategy needs to be set, through stakeholder engagement, for the governance of combined exposure to multiple chemicals and mixtures. The strategy would include research aimed at scientific advancement in mechanistic understanding and modelling techniques, as well as research to address regulatory and policy needs. Without such a clear strategy, specific objectives and common priorities, research, and policies to address mixtures will likely remain scattered and insufficient.