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05/12/2016

EFSA launches public consultation into ‘cocktail effects’ of chemicals

Health & Consumers

EFSA launches public consultation into ‘cocktail effects’ of chemicals

Little is known about the combined effects of pesticides.

[Day Donaldson/Flickr]

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has asked the public for input on the complex question of the “cocktail effects” of chemical substances. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

The MixTox project aims at developing practical methods to evaluate the toxicity of combinations of substances in the food chain. Launched by the EFSA in 2013, the project will take several more years to conclude.

Unknown territory

The effects of chemical cocktails on human health and the environment are still largely unknown. But Europe’s public health agencies are working with EFSA to develop methods to evaluate the toxicity of mixtures of pesticides and chemical contaminants in the food chain.

“Understanding how combined chemicals behave is complex and the number of combinations is potentially infinite,” said Tobin Robinson, the head of EFSA’s emerging risks unit.

“Ultimately, to help safeguard Europeans and the environment, these methods need to support and inform risk managers in their decision-making,” he added.

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Public input

The EU agency called on Europe’s scientists, scientific advisory bodies and civil society to “support and contribute to this work”.

A public consultation to gather “insights and perspectives” on the project will run until 30 November. it is also an opportunity for the agency to glean information about similar programmes under way elsewhere and work on common objectives.

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