EUROPE: MCRA 8.1, EFSA new tool for consumer cumulative risk assessment

EFSA has developped MCRA sofware tool that allows cumulative risk assessment for consumers.


In 2013, EFSA’s Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues published a general methodology for classifying pesticides into cumulative assessment groups (CAGs).


In 2015, the software – known as the Monte Carlo Risk Assessment (MCRA) tool – has been developed to process CAGs containing up to 100 active substances.


Luc Mohimont, from EFSA’s Pesticides Unit, said:

“This is an exciting and significant development. Progress has been made in developing an approach for carrying out reliable exposure assessments of multiple pesticides, which takes us a step closer to our ultimate goal: to carry out comprehensive risk assessments of the combined effects on humans of pesticides, rather than just individual chemicals.”


In a pilot study, consumer exposure assessments are now being performed with MCRA tool on groups of pesticides that may affect the thyroid and nervous systems. The results of these assessments will be published by the end of 2016, and will be considered by EFSA when it produces two scientific reports on cumulative risk assessments for the thyroid and the nervous systems in 2017.

Over the coming years, CAGs will be defined for other organs, tissues and systems. Data is already being collected to define groups of pesticides that affect the liver, kidneys, eyes, and the reproductive and developmental systems.

Experience gained in the initial assessments will be used to optimise the tool to ensure its fitness for purpose in the context of regulatory decisions on applications concerning maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides in food.


Useful link:

EFSA Report (2016): MCRA made scalable for large cumulative assessment groups