Panoramix research project set out to evaluate the risk of chemical mixtures for human health
02 Nov, 2021, 04:00 ET
BRUSSELS, Nov. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Panoramix (Providing risk assessments of complex real-life mixtures for the protection of European citizens and the environment), a 4-year project led by the Technical University of Denmark, focuses on innovative ways for quantifying the risk associated with exposure to chemical mixtures, without animal testing. The project is supported by the European Commission through the Horizon Europe program with a €4.4M grant and will hold a kick-off meeting in Copenhagen on 22-23 Nov 2021.
Children are exposed to man-made chemicals already before they are born. While progress has been made to reduce toxic substance levels, new chemicals constantly enter the market. Many sectors are involved in reducing chemical exposure. Citizens are increasingly concerned regarding their lifestyle choices; NGOs are working to provide tools to make informed decisions; regulators are updating and setting new safety levels for each substance and; industry is adapting to a changing demand.
Risk assessment used as a scientific basis for new regulations tends to focus on one chemical at a time to reduce complexity. Still, scientists are convinced that it is necessary to tackle toxicant exposure at the level of mixtures of chemicals. The Chemical Strategy for Sustainability published in October 2020 stresses the need to address the combination effects of substances into the EU legislation to achieve a "toxic-free" environment.
Professor Vinggaard, coordinator of Panoramix, explains: "We are constantly exposed to different substances coming from different sources: from the water we drink to the food we eat. Moreover, a single mixture can be composed of dozens of chemicals, both known and unknown. Finally, some harmful effects might take years to manifest in the population. With Panoramix, we aim to address these critical points with a specific focus on children."
Samples of water, food and human cord blood will be studied to consider human exposure from different environmental compartments. Using in vitro tests that are increasingly replacing animal testing, researchers will focus on samples for their adverse effects on fundamental biological processes. Samples suspected to contain harmful combinations of chemicals will then be analysed to identify which substances contribute most to these mixture effects.
This information will be compared to Odense Child Cohort data, an ongoing project studying the impact of the environment on the development of the fetus and infant throughout their early life. By linking the results of the in vitro tests on the cord blood samples with the health conditions of the Odense Child Cohort, potential long-term effects induced by chronic chemical exposures will be uncovered. Thus, this research framework will pinpoint the co-occurring chemicals that are most likely associated to specific human health effects ("mixtures of concern") and, their levels in water, food and the human body.
The data generated by the 11 European Panoramix partners will propose safety levels for chemical mixtures in water, food and the human body to guide regulators in shaping safety policies.
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