• April 30, 2020
  • EFSA

Cumulative risk assessment of pesticides: FAQ

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  1. Why is EFSA working on cumulative risk assessment?

Risks to consumers from the presence of pesticide residues in food are currently estimated substance by substance. However, a number of pesticides have similar effects and their impact on human health could be greater in combination than individually.

EU regulations on pesticides in food and feed stipulate that cumulative and synergistic effects of pesticides should be considered for dietary risk assessment when the appropriate methodologies are available. They also state that residues of pesticides should not have any harmful effects on human health, taking account of known cumulative and synergistic effects.

EFSA has developed methodologies to carry out cumulative risk assessment (CRA) of pesticide residues in food. A procedure has been developed for establishing cumulative assessment groups (CAGs) of pesticides on the basis of their common toxicological effects.

As part of this programme, EFSA has carried out two pilot cumulative risk assessments of pesticide residues: one considering two chronic effects on the thyroid system and another looking at two acute effects on the nervous system.

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