SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  October 2010
Volume 11 Issue 11

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3rd SETAC Europe Special Science Symposium
Environmental Risk Assessment of Mixtures: Moving from Research to Regulation

2-3 February 2011, Brussels

Chemical-analytical surveys conducted in many regions repeatedly demonstrate that organisms in the environment are exposed to complex mixtures of chemicals. However, the environmental effects of chemicals are traditionally evaluated and regulated on the basis of single substances, single chemical by single chemical. There seems to be a developing international consensus that this approach may be insufficient, especially because the toxicity of a mixture of chemicals is usually higher than each of the individual substances. In December 2009, the EU environment ministers asked the European Commission to strengthen its work on managing the risks posed by chemical mixtures. In parallel, a range of reviews, guidelines and recommendations on how to assess risks of chemical mixtures has been compiled by academic working groups as well as national, European and international bodies (e.g., World Health Organization or the European Food Safety Authority). The symposium will present a unique overview and debate on the current state of the art, the open questions and the latest developments with respect to the environmental risk assessment of mixtures. Leading experts from academia, business, regulatory authorities and non-governmental organizations will identify key issues and discuss recommendations for future research and regulation.

3rd SETAC Europe Special Science Symposium

Approaches to mixture risk assessment will be discussed from a retrospective as well as a prospective perspective. Retrospective approaches are implemented as Toxicity Identification and Evaluation (TIE) and eco-epidemiological studies. They aim mainly at identifying causes for observed impacts, for example, in a polluted river or at a waste disposal site. Prospective studies on the other hand focus on the prediction of mixture toxicities, based on the toxicological or ecotoxicological properties of their components, which is needed for the setting of Predicted No-Effect Concentrations or similar environmental quality endpoints. In both types of studies, the classical mixture concepts of Independent Action (Response Addition) and Concentration (or Dose) Addition play a pivotal role. The concepts are Mode of Action (MOA)-driven and provide a frame of reference in which to evaluate the joint action of toxicants and, hence, are central in all current regulatory guidelines on mixture toxicities. However, several open questions still remain that will be examined by the symposium speakers. These range from fundamental scientific issues on the applicability of the concepts for various mixture types and exposed organisms, questions concerning the implementation of the mixture perspective into regulatory frameworks and developing appropriate environmental quality targets for chemical mixtures. The symposium aims to target regulatory frameworks such as REACH and the Water Framework Directive.

The symposium will cover key topics including

  • European Commission update on prospective risk assessment of chemical mixtures,
  • Cumulative risk assessment in the United States,
  • Using MOA approaches to mixtures,
  • Addressing existing mixtures within the Water Framework Directive, and
  • Utility of eco-epidemiology for addressing mixtures and causation in the field.

Check out the complete program for the symposium online!

We welcome the submission of abstracts for posters, which will be evaluated by the steering committee. Ample time will be given during the symposium for authors to discuss their work on research related to the theme of the symposium. Please note that your contribution should be focused on the value of your research for the possible implementation of mixture toxicity into regulatory frameworks. Submit your poster abstract online before 15 November 2010.

Who will benefit from this conference?

  • Exposure and risk assessors and researchers in business, government and academia.
  • Contract research organizations and consultants offering services related to mixture assessments.
  • Regulators in government agencies concerned with mixtures.

Why attend?

  • Get up to the minute information on mixtures.
  • Gain insight into the critical risk assessment criteria for product registration.
  • Learn from and contribute to panel discussions with the speakers.

You can register for the symposium via Note that registration is limited to 135 participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

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