On the Use of Mixture Toxicity Assessment in REACH and the Water Framework Directive: A Review

Kristian Syberg, Trine Susanne Jensen, Nina Cedergreen, Jette Rank

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


This review seeks to connect the scientific theory of mixture toxicity to its implementation within different regulatory frameworks. The aim is to demonstrate how mixture toxicity assessment can be more thoroughly integrated into the European chemical regulations, REACH, and the Water Framework Directive (WFD), using the experiences gained through other regulatory frameworks. The article consists of (1) an examination of the scientific underpinnings of the common mixture toxicity assessment methods; (2) a discussion of how these methods have been used in regulatory frameworks; and (3) a discussion of how the methods could be applied within REACH and the WFD. It is concluded that concentration addition should be applied as a default model for mixture toxicity assessment. Furthermore, it is concluded that REACH and the WFD only include mixture toxicity assessments in specific situations. However, it is shown that it is scientifically feasible and regulatorally practicable to integrate a more holistic mixture toxicity approach into both legislations. In this connection, the experience gained from the U.S. frameworks on mixture toxicity assessment could be useful. The construction of a database that includes data on chemicals in the European environment could be used for mixture toxicity assessment of the chemicals with individual PEC/PNECs > 0.1.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman and Ecological Risk Assessment
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1257-1272
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • mixture toxicity
  • chemical regulation
  • Water Framework Directive
  • concentration addition

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