Developing a strategy to improve the hazard and risk assessment of difficult to test multi-component substances

Joint ECETOC – RIFM Workshop:

02-04 November 2016, Orlando, Florida, USA, preceding the SETAC World Congress


International regulatory schemes (specifically REACH, Environment Canada’s DSL Categorization, and USEPA’s PMN process) have highlighted the complexities of registering, characterizing fate and hazard, and risk assessing complex chemical mixtures whether from manufacturing environments or plant derived materials. Several industrial sectors (e.g., petrochemicals, personal care) have developed schemes for characterization and analysis of these complex substances. However, there is significant benefit to be gained through a collaborative ECETOC Workshop to identify best practices and key research needs to support environmental risk assessment. The key sectors, noted previously, including but not limited to the petroleum/petrochemical sector, the personal care chemicals companies (specifically, fragrance ingredient manufacturers and essential oil producers) and representatives from ECHA, USEPA and Environment Canada.

Much of the effort in the environmental risk assessment of mixtures has been focused on the environment “as a mixture” (See, for example, the forthcoming Pellston Workshop on mixtures or ECETOC’s TR 111) as opposed to chemical mixtures (i.e., multi-component substances and UVCBs) discharged to the environment. This does represent a broad and understudied chemical space that would benefit from an ECETOC WS bringing together affected industries (e.g., petroleum, personal care) and regulatory authorities in the process of developing guidance and reviewing assessments. As a specific example, the REACH guidance on PBT assessment is scheduled to be updated in 2016 and UVCB assessment is a specific topic that will be included.


To develop appropriate risk assessment and testing methodologies applicable to the assessment of UVCBs (Unknown, Variable Composition and Biologicals).  These substances present a challenge to industry and regulatory authorities both in their substance composition, fate and ecotoxicological testing.