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Regulatory assessment and risk management of chemical mixtures: challenges and ways forward

Abstract: 

This paper summarizes current challenges, the potential use of novel scientific methodologies, and ways forward in the risk assessment and risk management of mixtures. Generally, methodologies to address mixtures have been agreed; however, there are still several data and methodological gaps to be addressed. New approach methodologies can support the filling of knowledge gaps on the toxicity and mode(s) of action of individual chemicals. (Bio)Monitoring, modeling, and better data sharing will support the derivation of more realistic co-exposure scenarios. As knowledge and data gaps often hamper an in-depth assessment of specific chemical mixtures, the option of taking account of possible mixture effects in single substance risk assessments is briefly discussed. To allow risk managers to take informed decisions, transparent documentation of assumptions and related uncertainties is recommended indicating the potential impact on the assessment. Considering the large number of possible combinations of chemicals in mixtures, prioritization is needed, so that actions first address mixtures of highest concern and chemicals that drive the mixture risk. As chemicals with different applications and regulated separately might lead to similar toxicological effects, it is important to consider chemical mixtures across legislative sectors.