The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is close to completing two landmark assessments of the risks posed to consumers by exposure to multiple pesticides[i].
European Union Regulations require that cumulative effects of pesticide exposure be considered when determining the maximum levels of pesticides in food, and that pesticides placed on the market should have no harmful effects, including cumulative effects on humans.
The Dutch National Institute for Public Health, RIVM, has, in partnership with EFSA, developed a software tool that can be adapted to perform assessments of cumulative exposure. Next steps include further refinement and creation of a data model which provides information required to perform cumulative risk assessments. A proposal for the data model has just been published.
Pilot assessments are expected to be finalized by the end of the year. The assessments consider the cumulative effects of exposure to pesticides on the human nervous and endocrine systems.
EFSA’s pesticide experts have also developed a way of classifying pesticides into groups that exhibit similar toxicity in a specific organ or body system[ii].
Over the coming years, the cumulative effects of pesticides affecting other organs, tissues and systems, such as the liver, kidneys, eyes, and the reproductive and developmental systems will also be investigated.