Potential emerging chemical risks in the food chain associated with substances registered under REACH†
A screening procedure for the identification of potential emerging chemical risks in the food and feed chain developed in a previous EFSA-sponsored pilot study was applied to 15021 substances registered under the REACH Regulation at the time of evaluation. Eligible substances were selected from this dataset by excluding (a) intermediates handled under strictly controlled conditions, (b) substances lacking crucial input data and (c) compounds considered to be outside the applicability domain of the models used. Selection of eligible substances resulted in a considerable reduction to 2336 substances. These substances were assessed and scored for environmental release (tonnage and use information from REACH registration dossiers), biodegradation (predictions from BIOWIN models 3, 5 and 6 evaluated in a battery approach), bioaccumulation in food/feed (ACC-HUMANsteady modelling) and chronic human health hazards (classification according to the CLP Regulation for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, reproductive toxicity and repeated dose toxicity as well as IARC classification for carcinogenicity). Prioritisation based on the scores assigned and additional data curation steps identified 212 substances that are considered potential emerging risks in the food chain. Overall, 53% of these substances were prioritised due to chronic hazards identified in REACH registrations dossiers only (i.e. hazards not identified in classifications from other sources). Bioaccumulation in food and feed predicted on the basis of ACC-HUMANsteady modelling identified many substances that are not considered bioaccumulative in aquatic or terrestrial organisms based on screening criteria of the relevant ECHA guidance documents. Furthermore, 52% of the priority substances have not yet been assessed for their presence in food/feed by EU regulatory agencies. This finding and illustrative examples suggest that the screening procedure identified substances that have the potential to be emerging chemical risks in the food chain. Future research should investigate whether they actually represent emerging chemical risks as defined in EFSA's mandate.