Harmonisation of human and ecological risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals
The 21st meeting in the EFSA Scientific Colloquium Series was held in Edinburgh, UK on 11-12 September 2014 and addressed the “Harmonisation of human and ecological risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals”. Human and ecological risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals (“chemical mixtures”) poses several challenges to scientists, risk assessors and risk managers, particularly due to the large number of chemicals involved and their associated exposure patterns and toxicological profiles in humans and other species present in the environment. In principle,... methodological frameworks for human and ecological risk assessment use tiered approaches for exposure assessment, hazard assessment and risk characterisation. Overall, the tiers range from qualitative/semi-quantitative tiers to fully probabilistic tiers – the choice of the tier often depending on data availability – and the purpose of the risk assessment. In the human health area, EFSA’s Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR) has developed cumulative risk assessment methodologies for pesticides with similar and dissimilar modes of action (MoA). The scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) has developed and applied different methodologies for the human risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple contaminants. Recently, a scientific report of EFSA on “Modern methodologies and tools for human hazard assessment of chemicals” highlighted the potential applications of physiologically-based models, OMICs and in silico tools for the hazard assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals (EFSA, 2014).