EU project EuroMix (European Test and Risk Assessment Strategies for Mixtures) was launched recently. EuroMix will provide a test strategy for mixture testing based on new and already existing toxicological tests. The project has high societal relevance, because to date mixtures cannot be adequately addressed and European regulation has indicated the need for mixture risk assessment in the future.
At the kick-off on 20-21 May at RIVM premises in Bilthoven, speakers from international organisations as World Health Organization, the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA), the European Commission Joint Research Centre and experts involved in international discussion as RISK 21, presented an overview of the current European and world-wide initiatives. The overview covered the fields of toxicology, new and advanced test strategies and risk assessment of combined exposure to mixtures of chemicals. Tasks and actions in line with the contract and in perspective of international developments were discussed during the kick-off meeting.
Goals and steps
EuroMix aims to develop an experimentally verified, tiered test strategy of mixtures of multiple chemicals derived from multiple sources across different life stages. The project takes due account of the gender dimension and balances the risk of chemicals present in foods against the benefits of those foods. Experiments will be performed and results and experience will be described in practical guidance for future implementation of the test strategy. Since the number of mixtures to which we are exposed during everyday life is infinite, key mixtures will have to be identified.
These key mixtures will be tested and the outcome of the test results will be used in future aggregate and cumulative exposure assessments. A platform of suitable bioassays for mixture testing will be explored and the most suitable tests will be validated against animal experiments. New models for the calculation of the risk of mixtures will be developed and exposure assessments will be conducted. This EuroMix model toolbox will be made available for stakeholders through an openly accessible web based platform. EuroMix will provide guidance to the international organisations on how to use the bioassays and the model toolbox in future mixture testing and mixture risk assessment.
It is expected that the project will boost innovation in the public and private sector. It will provide a sound scientific basis for measuring the effect of mixtures and reduce the use of laboratory animals in the future. Ultimately it will support discussion for harmonised risk assessment policies for mixtures in the EU, Codex Alimentarius and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Unites States of America.
EuroMix has a total of 22 partners and 4 affiliated partners. The project is included in the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020, which builds on previous European research programs. The EuroMix partners and the European Commission have agreed on co-funding for 8 million Euros. The Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, RIVM is leading the EuroMix project. Wageningen UR participates with two research institutes.