Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemical cocktail affects humans and the environment

29.03.2010
Throughout our lives we are exposed to an enormous range of man-made chemicals, from food, water, medicines, cosmetics, clothes, shoes and the air we breathe.

At the request of the EU, researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have looked at the risk of "chemical cocktails" and have proposed a number of measures that need to be implemented in the current practice of chemical risk assessment.

In 2005 an American study showed that newborn babies have an average of 200 non-natural chemicals in their blood - including pesticides, dioxins, industrial chemicals and flame retardants. In a Swedish study, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences found 57 different pesticides in Swedish rivers and streams, many of them occurring simultaneously. However, the effects of chemicals on humans and the environment are traditionally evaluated on the basis of single substances, chemical by chemical.

Complex cocktail
Research has shown that this type of approach is inadequate as the chemicals that we use form a complex cocktail. The EU's environment ministers have therefore urged the European Commission to step up its risk assessments and amend the legislation on the combination effects of chemicals. In concrete terms, the Commission has been tasked with producing recommendations in 2010 on how combinations of hormone-disrupting substances should be dealt with on the basis of existing legislation, and with assessing suitable legislative changes in 2011.
Unambiguous research results
In order to map out the current situation, researchers from the University of Gothenburg and the University of London carried out a review of the state of the art of mixture toxicology and ecotoxicology. The study showed that all the relevant research is unambiguous: the combined "cocktail effect" of environmental chemicals is greater and more toxic than the effect of the chemicals individually.
Guidelines needed
"The number of chemical combinations that the Earth's living organisms are exposed to is enormous," says Thomas Backhaus, researcher at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and co-author of the report. "Assessing every conceivable combination is not therefore realistic, and predictive approaches must be implemented in risk assessment. We need guidelines on how to manage the chemical cocktail effect so that we can assess the risks to both humans and the environment."

The study, State of the Art Report on Mixture Toxicity, is published by the EU's Directorate-General for the Environment. Download the report at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/effects.htm

Contact
Thomas Backhaus, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, tel: +46 31 786 2734

thomas.backhaus@dpes.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/effects.htm
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>