Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.csr.2003.06.002
Title (Primary) The BEAM-project: prediction and assessment of mixture toxicities in the aquatic environment
Author Backhaus, T.; Altenburger, R.; Arrhenius, A.; Blanck, H.; Faust, M.; Finizio, A.; Gramatica, P.; Grote, M.; Junghans, M.; Meyer, W.; Pavan, M.; Porsbring, T.; Scholze, M.; Todeschini, R.; Vighi, M.; Walter, H.; Grimme, L.H.
Journal Continental Shelf Research
Year 2003
Department OEC; BIOTOX; COE
Volume 23
Issue 17-19
Page From 1757
Page To 1769
Language englisch
Keywords Mixture toxicity; Concentration Addition; Independent Action; Risk assessment

Freshwater and marine ecosystems are exposed to various multi-component mixtures of pollutants. Nevertheless, most ecotoxicological research and chemicals regulation focus on hazard and exposure assessment of individual substances only, the problem of chemical mixtures in the environment is ignored to a large extent. In contrast, the assessment of combination effects has a long tradition in pharmacology, where mixtures of chemicals are specifically designed to develop new products, e.g. human and veterinary drugs or agricultural and non-agricultural pesticides. In this area, two concepts are frequently used and are thought to describe fundamental relationships between single substance and mixture effects: Independent Action (Response Addition) and Concentration Addition. The question, to what extent these concepts may also be applied in an ecotoxicological and regulatory context may be considered a research topic of major importance, as the concepts would allow to make use of already existing single substance toxicity data for the predictive assessment of mixture toxicities. Two critical knowledge gaps are identified: (a) There is a lack of environmental realism, as a huge part of our current knowledge about the applicability of the concepts is restricted to artificial situations with respect to mixture composition or biological effect assessment. (b) The knowledge on what exactly is needed for using the concepts as tools for the predictive mixture toxicity assessment is insufficient. Both gaps seriously hamper the necessary, scientifically sound consideration of mixture toxicities in a regulatory context.

In this paper, the two concepts will be briefly introduced, the necessity of considering the toxicities of chemical mixtures in the environment will be demonstrated and the applicability of Independent Action and Concentration Addition as tools for the prediction and assessment of mixture toxicities will be discussed. An overview of the specific aims and approaches of the BEAM project to fill in the identified knowledge gaps is given and first results are outlined.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Backhaus, T., Altenburger, R., Arrhenius, A., Blanck, H., Faust, M., Finizio, A., Gramatica, P., Grote, M., Junghans, M., Meyer, W., Pavan, M., Porsbring, T., Scholze, M., Todeschini, R., Vighi, M., Walter, H., Grimme, L.H. (2003):
The BEAM-project: prediction and assessment of mixture toxicities in the aquatic environment
Cont. Shelf Res 23 (17-19), 1757 - 1769