SFS-12-2014 - Assessing the health risks of combined human exposure to multiple food-related toxic substances
Specific challenge: Risk assessment has long been the tool for science-based decision-making and has become an integral part of EU policy development. With regard to chemical hazards, there is increasing concern over the possible ‘cocktail effects’ of combined exposure to multiple food related toxic substances. The complex toxicology of chemical mixtures, and the diversity of the routes of exposure, call for the development of a more mechanism-based and quantitative framework for risk assessment estimating the impact on health, thereby increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of safety evaluations.
Scope: The state-of-the-art frameworks already in place at international level should be reviewed in the quest for a harmonised, evidence- and risk-based approach. Proposals should focus on the health risks of combined exposures to multiple chemicals from multiple sources across differing life stages, while weighing the risks from chemical mixtures in diets against the health benefits from the same foods and taking into account also the gender dimension. New strategies should be developed, implemented and supported by the respectively developed software and databases and tested in operational environments – using, for example, ‘omics’ technologies, bioassay systems, mathematical modelling, quantitative structure-activity relationship models and threshold of toxicological concern – so that tiered approaches for testing can be followed and targeted testing protocols developed. Proposals should address responsible research and innovation aspects by developing strategies that will result in a reduction in the use of animals in toxicological research.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
· New strategies that help boost innovation in both the public and private sectors and significantly improve the robustness and efficiency of risk assessment
· Improvement in public health through a reduction in food-related toxic substances
· Free access for public authorities to the new software and databases developed beyond the lifetime of the projects
· A reduction in the use of animals in toxicological research
· Support to EU, Codex Alimentarius, and WHO health and food safety policies through the development of new risk assessment strategies
Type of action: Research and innovation actions