Cocktail effects

Risk assessment of chemicals is generally based on a comparison of human exposure to a chemical to the NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level) for the chemical, i.e. the highest dose of chemical causing no adverse effects in laboratory animals. This is done for one chemical at a time. However, humans are daily exposed to many different chemicals. This raises an important question:  Can exposure to several chemicals induce effects, although the doses for the single chemicals are below or around NOAEL?

In vitro studies and studies in experimental animals show that this is the case for e.g. endocrine disrupting chemicals. This implies that risk assessment of a chemical in isolation underestimate the risk for humans.  

The purposes of the research at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, in this area is to increase the knowledge on effects of chemicals and potential mixture effects, to develop methods for predicting mixture effects based on data for the single chemicals and to obtain new knowledge on human exposure to mixtures of chemicals. 

The purpose of the National Food Institute’s public consultancy is to support regulatory initiatives leading to protection against potential mixture effects.


Danish Veterinary and Food Administration
Danish Environmental Protection Agency
Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, NL
GreenTox, Zürich
Brunel University, UK
University of Sussex, UK
University of Granada, Spain
University of Bristol
University Hospital of Copenhagen, Denmark