Eurometaux, in close cooperation with the consortia/commodities/associations/companies, designed a comprehensive “environmental exposure gathering programme” covering today’s and expected needs for tomorrow to comply with the Zero Pollution Ambition and biodiversity objectives. For finding more information on the programme please click here
The programme is composed of two “data gathering packs” driven by the following regulatory concerns: the Mixture Assessment Factor (MAF) proposed under REACH by the CSS, and, the Zero Pollution Action Plan /MISA/REACH pack, covering in total six projects. They all contribute in a stepwise and tiered way to the demonstration that metals environmental exposures are not expected to be harmful to health and the environment.
For more information on the interactive scheme below:
MIXTURE ASSESSMENT FACTOR (MAF)
REACH / ZPAP
ENV: Reality check
PROJECT 1 Regional exposure assessment
PROJECT 2 STP exposure assessment
PROJECT 3 Ecological relevance
PROJECT 4 Mixture effects of metals with organics
PROJECT 5 Mixture effects of metals
PROJECT 6 MAF level 2
Regional exposure sources for metals are often a large contributor in the overall emissions, hence the need to collect up-to-date regional exposure evidence in all relevant environmental compartments on a series of metals with attention for data quality and time and geographic representativity, as well as for the allocation of main contributing sources for immediate use to update the REACH registration files. In follow-up the project aims at emission characterisation and source allocation with a focus on water and air. This will allow to define a format for predictions on future regional exposure based on volume, use pattern and environmental condition changes, to promote the relevance of exposure control measures to reach the toxic-free environment status for metals in the longer run.
Understanding the collective emissions from consumers and professional use by providing a better estimate of the fraction of metal emissions directed to water and sludge in Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) and check for the contributions of these sources as estimated in the allocation assessment of the regional exposure project. A second aim covers the concentrations of metals in STP sludge and the extent of STP sludge-containing metals used as agricultural fertilisers. National data will be collected, and the literature part of the project aims to run in 2022 with reporting by the end of 2022. A sampling exercise could be organised in follow-up if needed and be relevant in 2023. Focus will be on representativity of the data and covering a broad spectrum of metals.
Provide scientific evidence to input in the discussions on the relevance of the magnitude of the MAF for naturally occurring substances, like metals and inorganics. Key questions that will be addressed: a) are the mixture effects of priority contributing inorganics (PCIs) (identified in project 6) relevant at regulatory relevant exposure levels? b) how conservative are the current PNEC values for the observed metal-mixture effects? c) can these effects be predicted based on standard mixture models? These questions will be addressed by reviewing the existing knowledge and performing a data-gap analysis, based on which an experimental design will be drafted. In the experimental phase, targeted experiments (potentially based in microcosm studies on the PCIs) will be carried out to evaluate the effects of the combination of priority contributing inorganics at regulatory relevant exposure levels, using single species and microcosm tests.
Evaluate if metals and organics can be considered separately and independently in mixture assessment approaches or not. Questions to be addressed: a) are mixture effects of inorganic priority contributing substances combined with organics relevant at regulatory relevant exposure levels? b) how conservative are the current PNEC values for the observed mixture effects? c) can these effects be predicted based on standard mixture models? These questions will be addressed by reviewing the existing knowledge on the mixture effects between inorganic and organic priority contributing substances (PCs) and performing a data gap analysis based on which an experimental design will be drafted to evaluate the combined effects of inorganics and organics at regulatory relevant exposure levels using microcosm tests. Unintentional mixtures will be further explored via a targeted real-world sampling campaign, looking into biodiversity effects.
Identify the priority contributing inorganics (PCIs, e.g., 80 % RCR impact) based on their risk (combination of hazard and occurrence in the environment) and compare those with the metals identified in the priority list published by EEA. Risks will be evaluated based on monitoring data representative for natural background (minimal anthropogenic contribution) and for monitoring data on ambient regional concentrations (using the EEA Water database monitoring dataset and the GEMAS dataset). This project will also evaluate for different typical scenarios (data-rich, data-poor, …) how difficult it is to refine the RCR for metals.
In order to check the impact on biota, we will use the evidence gathered in projects 4, 5, 6 to investigate the most impactful metals (PCIs) under EU realistic conditions (relevant species, environmental conditions) and define how the combined impact can be measured at local and regional scales in the receiving environment (e.g., emission dilution, or measured regional metals combined impact). We will develop a cost-efficient strategy and tools that help to define metals’ good quality status in waters and how the lack of impact on biodiversity of metals on waters and sediments can be demonstrated through monitoring (at local and regional scale).
The projects will run between 2022 and 2024 (for 3 years). The timeline has been defined to be able to feed the deliverables in due time into regulatory debates (e.g., REACH Revisions, MAF impact assessments and debates, Zero Pollution Action Plan activities, Water Framework Directive etc.)
For additional information on the MEED programme, please make sure you check our Q and A section
The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)Europe 32nd Annual Meeting poster can be downloaded here
The MEED 3 year programme is sponsored by the following consortia/associations/commodities and companies:
Albemarle: Global Specialty Chemicals Company Arsenic Consortium – As consortium Cobalt Institute Copper Compounds Consortium Eurofer European Aluminium European Copper Institute European Precious Metals Federation Finnish Steel and Metal Producers International Molybdenum Association International Antimony Association International Tungsten Industry Association International Zinc Association
International Lead Association NiPERA INC - Nickel Institute Reach Borates Consortium Reach Indium Consortium Reach Germanium Reach Selenium & Tellurium Consortium Reach Zinc Consortium & Reach Cadmium Consortium
Rare Earth Consortium The Vanadium Consortium Titanium Dioxide Industry TDIC - Reach Centrum
The MEED 3 year programme will cover the following metals substances: