EFSA gets closer to assessing multiple pesticide residue risks

| July 20, 2013

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has presented new methodology for grouping pesticides that will allow the implementation of cumulative risk assessment for studying the risks posed by exposure to multiple pesticide residues.

The EFSA methodology is based on classifying pesticides into cumulative assessment groups (CAGs) on the basis of exhibiting similar toxicological properties in a specific organ or system. The method has already been used to define groups of pesticides toxic to the thyroid and central nervous systems.

Traditional methods of risk assessment for pesticide residues have looked at individual compounds in isolation, but current EU law now requires that assessments study the cumulative effects of exposure to a range of different pesticides simultaneously. This approach allows possible interactions between pesticides to be included in the risk assessment. The new EFSA method “paves the way” for these cumulative assessments.

The next stage is the gradual implementation of cumulative risk assessments in EFSA’s pesticide studies as the methodology is further developed.

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