Endocrine Disrupters – Combination effects

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During the 2010 Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers environment and health was a prioritized subject. The aim was enhanced Nordic information exchange. To support this aim a number of Nordic workshops were held to strengthen the capacity building and discuss future regulatory aspects in the area of endocrine disruptors, combination effects, and soft regulatory measures and effective risk communication. One of the workshops held in November focused on combination effects, with a special focus on endocrine disruptors. This report describes the workshop presentations, the ensuing discussions, and the outcome.




There are several ways in which chemical substances can and may act together when present in mixtures. Effects may be synergistic, antagonistic, additive or independent. One approach to assessing the toxicity is to conduct a direct test of the mixture of concern but this will not provide information on the contribution of the individual substances. An assumption can be that each component will contribute to this overall effect even when present in doses or concentrations below their individual NOEL or NOEC (i.e. the concept of dose or concentration addition). Alternatively, another assumption is that only those toxicants that are present in doses that cause an effect greater than zero (the threshold) will contribute to the overall toxicity of the mixture (i.e. response addition or independent action.


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