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We are what we eat - regulatory gaps put our health at risk

Each individual chemical may not have a harmful effect if it were the only one present. But we know next to nothing about their cumulative biological effects on body functions.

Regulators in Europe and the US have neglected the mandate to consider cumulative effects, according to Dr Maricel V Maffini who presented at a FRAM-seminar 23rd of May.

Thousands of chemicals have entered the food system since the 1950's. Yet their long-term, chronic effects have been woefully understudied and their health risks inadequately assessed. The current chemical risk assessment approach is typically based on the toxicity caused by a single chemical on a variety of organs without acknowledging additional exposures to other chemicals also affecting the same organ or system.

"The authorities inability to effectively manage the safety of hundreds of chemicals is putting our children’s health at risk", writes Dr Maricel V Maffini.

Dr. Maricel V. Maffini has more than 25 years of research experience in the fields of carcinogenesis, reproductive biology and endocrine disruption. She will talk about the limitations of considering the effects of only one chemical at a time, and regulators that neglect the mandate of considering cumulative effects of chemicals.

"An expanded cumulative risk assessment approach focused on health outcomes is needed", she writes.

Dr. Maricel V. Maffini is an Independent Consultant based in Maryland, US. Her current work focuses on environmental health issues related to chemical safety with special emphasis on food chemicals, plastic packaging, risk assessment and policy.