Until recently it was often unclear how often and for how long consumers are exposed to a mixture of pesticide residues on, for example, fruit and vegetables. Until now, international risk assessment bodies have addressed each pesticide separately, but simultaneous exposure to residues of several pesticides has not been considered yet. The ACROPOLIS project has delivered innovation in this area of public concern.
Within the ACROPOLIS project, a computer model was developed that calculates the exposure of consumers to multiple pesticide residues from all kinds of food. It also looks at the consequences of people ingesting residues of several types of pesticide at the same time. This makes it possible to chart health risks that take into account the harmfulness of mixtures of pesticides and enables the government to discuss acceptable exposure limits.
Pesticide industry companies, national competent authorities and regulators such the Board for the Authorization of Plant Protection Products and Biocides can use the ACROPOLIS model. These bodies can then look at the possible health risks before a new pesticide will be authorised on the market. The European Commission can use these calculations to set standards in the future that take into account exposure to mixtures of pesticides.
The ACROPOLIS project was financed by the European Commission. RIVM coordinated the project and implemented it in collaboration with 17 partners – from universities to national food authorities – in Europe. The project lasted 3.5 years and was completed in 2013.