Now showing 1 - 10 of 17
  • Publication
    Guidance on the use of the benchmark dose approach in risk assessment
    The Scientific Committee (SC) reconfirms that the benchmark dose (BMD) approach is a scientifically more advanced method compared to the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) approach for deriving a Reference Point (RP). The major change compared to the previous Guidance (EFSA SC, 2017) concerns the Section 2.5, in which a change from the frequentist to the Bayesian paradigm is recommended. In the former, uncertainty about the unknown parameters is measured by confidence and significance levels, interpreted and calibrated under hypothetical repetition, while probability distributions are attached to the unknown parameters in the Bayesian approach, and the notion of probability is extended to reflect uncertainty of knowledge. In addition, the Bayesian approach can mimic a learning process and reflects the accumulation of knowledge over time. Model averaging is again recommended as the preferred method for estimating the BMD and calculating its credible interval. The set of default models to be used for BMD analysis has been reviewed and amended so that there is now a single set of models for quantal and continuous data. The flow chart guiding the reader step-by-step when performing a BMD analysis has also been updated, and a chapter comparing the frequentist to the Bayesian paradigm inserted. Also, when using Bayesian BMD modelling, the lower bound (BMDL) is to be considered as potential RP, and the upper bound (BMDU) is needed for establishing the BMDU/BMDL ratio reflecting the uncertainty in the BMD estimate. This updated guidance does not call for a general re-evaluation of previous assessments where the NOAEL approach or the BMD approach as described in the 2009 or 2017 Guidance was used, in particular when the exposure is clearly lower (e.g. more than one order of magnitude) than the health-based guidance value. Finally, the SC firmly reiterates to reconsider test guidelines given the wide application of the BMD approach.
      34Scopus© Citations 43
  • Publication
    Opinion on the impact of non‐monotonic dose responses on EFSA's human health risk assessments
    This Opinion assesses the biological relevance of the non-monotonic dose responses (NMDR) identified in a previous EFSA External Report (Beausoleil et al., 2016) produced under GP/EFSA/SCER/2014/01 and the follow-up probabilistic assessment (Chevillotte et al., 2017a,b), focusing on the in vivo data sets fulfilling most of the checkpoints of the visual/statistical-based analysis identified in Beausoleil et al. (2016). The evaluation was completed with cases discussed in EFSA assessments and the update of the scientific literature. Observations of NMDR were confirmed in certain studies and are particularly relevant for receptor-mediated effects. Based on the results of the evaluation, the Opinion proposes an approach to be applied during the risk assessment process when apparent non-monotonicity is observed, also providing advice on specific elements to be considered to facilitate the assessment of NMDR in EFSA risk assessments. The proposed approach was applied to two case studies, Bisphenol A and bis(2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and these evaluations are reported in dedicated annexes. Considering the potential impact of NMDRs in regulatory risk assessment, the Scientific Committee recommends a concerted international effort on developing internationally agreed guidance and harmonised frameworks for identifying and addressing NMDRs in the risk assessment process.
      221Scopus© Citations 19
  • Publication
    Evaluation of existing guidelines for their adequacy for the microbial characterisation and environmental risk assessment of microorganisms obtained through synthetic biology
    EFSA was asked by the European Commission to consider synthetic biology developments for agri-food use in the near future and to determine if the use of this technology is expected to constitute potential risks and hazards for the environment. Moreover, EFSA was requested to evaluate the adequacy of existing guidelines for risk assessment and if updated guidance is needed. The scope of this Opinion covers viable synthetic biology microorganisms (SynBioMs) expected to be deliberately released into the environment. The evaluation was based on: (i) horizon scanning of published information, (ii) gap analysis of existing guidelines covering the scope of this mandate, and (iii) future outlooks. A horizon scan showed that SynBioM applications could be ready for deliberate release into the environment of the EU in the next decade. However, extensively engineered SynBioMs are only expected in the wider future. For the microbial characterisation and the environmental risk assessment, the existing EFSA Guidances are useful as a basis. The extent to which existing Guidances can be used depends on the familiarity of the SynBioM with non-modified organisms. Among the recommendations for updated Guidance, the range of uses of products to be assessed covering all agri-food uses and taking into account all types of microorganisms, their relevant exposure routes and receiving environments. It is suggested that new EFSA Guidances address all ‘specific areas of risk’ as per Directive 2001/18/EC. No novel environmental hazards are expected for current and near future SynBioMs. However, the efficacy by which the SynBioMs interact with the environment may differ. This could lead to increased exposure and risk. Novel hazards connected with the development of xenobionts may be expected in the wider future.
      194Scopus© Citations 17
  • Publication
    Statement on the derivation of Health-Based Guidance Values (HBGVs) for regulated products that are also nutrients
    This Statement presents a proposal for harmonising the establishment of Health-Based Guidance Values (HBGVs) for regulated products that are also nutrients. This is a recurrent issue for food additives and pesticides, and may occasionally occur for other regulated products. The Statement describes the specific considerations that should be followed for establishing the HBGVs during the assessment of a regulated product that is also a nutrient. It also addresses the elements to be considered in the intake assessment; and proposes a decision tree for ensuring a harmonised process for the risk characterisation of regulated products that are also nutrients. The Scientific Committee recommends the involvement of the relevant EFSA Panels and units, in order to ensure an integrated and harmonised approach for the hazard and risk characterisation of regulated products that are also nutrients, considering the intake from all relevant sources.
      193Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    Guidance on risk assessment of the application of nanoscience and nanotechnologies in the food and feed chain: Part 1, human and animal health
    The European Food Safety Authority has produced this Guidance on human and animal health aspects (Part 1) of the risk assessment of nanoscience and nanotechnology applications in the food and feed chain. It covers the application areas within EFSA's remit, e.g. novel foods, food contact materials, food/feed additives and pesticides. The Guidance takes account of the new developments that have taken place since publication of the previous Guidance in 2011. Potential future developments are suggested in the scientific literature for nanoencapsulated delivery systems and nanocomposites in applications such as novel foods, food/feed additives, biocides, pesticides and food contact materials. Therefore, the Guidance has taken account of relevant new scientific studies that provide more insights to physicochemical properties, exposure assessment and hazard characterisation of nanomaterials. It specifically elaborates on physicochemical characterisation of nanomaterials in terms of how to establish whether a material is a nanomaterial, the key parameters that should be measured, the methods and techniques that can be used for characterisation of nanomaterials and their determination in complex matrices. It also details the aspects relating to exposure assessment and hazard identification and characterisation. In particular, nanospecific considerations relating to in vivo/in vitro toxicological studies are discussed and a tiered framework for toxicological testing is outlined. It describes in vitro degradation, toxicokinetics, genotoxicity as well as general issues relating to testing of nanomaterials. Depending on the initial tier results, studies may be needed to investigate reproductive and developmental toxicity, immunotoxicity, allergenicity, neurotoxicity, effects on gut microbiome and endocrine activity. The possible use of read‐across to fill data gaps as well as the potential use of integrated testing strategies and the knowledge of modes/mechanisms of action are also discussed. The Guidance proposes approaches to risk characterisation and uncertainty analysis, and provides recommendations for further research in this area.
      470Scopus© Citations 247
  • Publication
    Guidance on the use of the Threshold of Toxicological Concern approach in food safety assessment
    The Scientific Committee confirms that the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) is a pragmatic screening and prioritisation tool for use in food safety assessment. This Guidance provides clear step-bystep instructions for use of the TTC approach. The inclusion and exclusion criteria are defined and the use of the TTC decision tree is explained. The approach can be used when the chemical structure of the substance is known, there are limited chemical-specific toxicity data and the exposure can be estimated. The TTC approach should not be used for substances for which EU food/feed legislation requires the submission of toxicity data or when sufficient data are available for a risk assessment or if the substance under consideration falls into one of the exclusion categories. For substances that have the potential to be DNA-reactive mutagens and/or carcinogens based on the weight of evidence, the relevant TTC value is 0.0025 lg/kg body weight (bw) per day. For organophosphates or carbamates, the relevant TTC value is 0.3 lg/kg bw per day. All other substances are grouped according to the Cramer classification. The TTC values for Cramer Classes I, II and III are 30 lg/kg bw per day, 9 lg/kg bw per day and 1.5 lg/kg bw per day, respectively. For substances with exposures below the TTC values, the probability that they would cause adverse health effects is low. If the estimated exposure to a substance is higher than the relevant TTC value, a non-TTC approach is required to reach a conclusion on potential adverse health effects.
      273Scopus© Citations 191
  • Publication
    Draft for internal testing Scientific Committee guidance on appraising and integrating evidence from epidemiological studies for use in EFSA's scientific assessments
    EFSA requested its Scientific Committee to prepare a guidance document on appraising and integrating evidence from epidemiological studies for use in EFSA's scientific assessments. The guidance document provides an introduction to epidemiological studies and illustrates the typical biases of the different epidemiological study designs. It describes key epidemiological concepts relevant for evidence appraisal. Regarding study reliability, measures of association, exposure assessment, statistical inferences, systematic error and effect modification are explained. Regarding study relevance, the guidance describes the concept of external validity. The principles of appraising epidemiological studies are illustrated, and an overview of Risk of Bias (RoB) tools is given. A decision tree is developed to assist in the selection of the appropriate Risk of Bias tool, depending on study question, population and design. The customisation of the study appraisal process is explained, detailing the use of RoB tools and assessing the risk of bias in the body of evidence. Several examples of appraising experimental and observational studies using a Risk of Bias tool are annexed to the document to illustrate the application of the approach. This document constitutes a draft that will be applied in EFSA's assessments during a 1-year pilot phase and be revised and complemented as necessary. Before finalisation of the document, a public consultation will be launched.
      258Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    A systems‐based approach to the environmental risk assessment of multiple stressors in honey bees
    The European Parliament requested EFSA to develop a holistic risk assessment of multiple stressors in honey bees. To this end, a systems-based approach that is composed of two core components: a monitoring system and a modelling system are put forward with honey bees taken as a showcase. Key developments in the current scientific opinion (including systematic data collection from sentinel beehives and an agent-based simulation) have the potential to substantially contribute to future development of environmental risk assessments of multiple stressors at larger spatial and temporal scales. For the monitoring, sentinel hives would be placed across representative climatic zones and landscapes in the EU and connected to a platform for data storage and analysis. Data on bee health status, chemical residues and the immediate or broader landscape around the hives would be collected in a harmonised and standardised manner, and would be used to inform stakeholders, and the modelling system, ApisRAM, which simulates as accurately as possible a honey bee colony. ApisRAM would be calibrated and continuously updated with incoming monitoring data and emerging scientific knowledge from research. It will be a supportive tool for beekeeping, farming, research, risk assessment and risk management, and it will benefit the wider society. A societal outlook on the proposed approach is included and this was conducted with targeted social science research with 64 beekeepers from eight EU Member States and with members of the EU Bee Partnership. Gaps and opportunities are identified to further implement the approach. Conclusions and recommendations are made on a way forward, both for the application of the approach and its use in a broader context.
      180Scopus© Citations 25
  • Publication
    Guidance on Uncertainty Analysis in Scientific Assessments
    Uncertainty analysis is the process of identifying limitations in scientific knowledge and evaluating their implications for scientific conclusions. It is therefore relevant in all EFSA's scientific assessments and also necessary, to ensure that the assessment conclusions provide reliable information for decision-making. The form and extent of uncertainty analysis, and how the conclusions should be reported, vary widely depending on the nature and context of each assessment and the degree of uncertainty that is present. This document provides concise guidance on how to identify which options for uncertainty analysis are appropriate in each assessment, and how to apply them. It is accompanied by a separate, supporting opinion that explains the key concepts and principles behind this Guidance, and describes the methods in more detail.
      436Scopus© Citations 229
  • Publication
    Guidance on harmonised methodologies for human health, animal health and ecological risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals
    This Guidance document describes harmonised risk assessment methodologies for combined exposure to multiple chemicals for all relevant areas within EFSA's remit, i.e. human health, animal health and ecological areas. First, a short review of the key terms, scientific basis for combined exposure risk assessment and approaches to assessing (eco)toxicology is given, including existing frameworks for these risk assessments. This background was evaluated, resulting in a harmonised framework for risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals. The framework is based on the risk assessment steps (problem formulation, exposure assessment, hazard identification and characterisation, and risk characterisation including uncertainty analysis), with tiered and stepwise approaches for both whole mixture approaches and component‐based approaches. Specific considerations are given to component‐based approaches including the grouping of chemicals into common assessment groups, the use of dose addition as a default assumption, approaches to integrate evidence of interactions and the refinement of assessment groups. Case studies are annexed in this guidance document to explore the feasibility and spectrum of applications of the proposed methods and approaches for human and animal health and ecological risk assessment. The Scientific Committee considers that this Guidance is fit for purpose for risk assessments of combined exposure to multiple chemicals and should be applied in all relevant areas of EFSA's work. Future work and research are recommended.
      418Scopus© Citations 335