EU Seeks to Evaluate the Risk of Mixtures and Announces an MAF Road Map

Sweden and the Netherlands are driving the implementation of a Mixture Assessment Factors (MAF) road map. The MAF contributes to safer evaluation of the risks created by mixtures. The thought behind the MAP is that human beings are exposed to many chemicals, and that the risks arising from exposures at these levels are low. However, everyone knows that individual substances affect other substances and can strengthen their effects. In the MAF, scientists see an appropriate parameter for better evaluation of the risks of mixtures.

The EU is now in the process of evaluating the MAF and deciding on the best way to anchor it in REACH. The EU wants to present a road map soon and open it to a public consultation. A template exists for the EU, a workshop report in which the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) and the Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management show how the MAF can be implemented in practice.

The introduction of an MAF would clearly classify mixtures as riskier than they currently are. In this context, the current threshold values for individual substances would also be reevaluated. As a result, a lot of REACH registration dossiers would have to be updated. That’s why the ECHA is determining just how much effort would be involved. Agreement on a concrete proposal for REACH is not expected before the end of 2022.

Many companies and associations regard an MAF as superfluous because it destroys the cost-benefit ratio. They believe that safe handling of hazardous chemicals would guarantee undesired combined effects from the start. And too little data is available on the toxicity of mixture to create a solid foundation.

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