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Ricardo develops tool to assess chemical persistence in environment

Ricardo develops tool to assess chemical persistence in environment
Photo courtesy of Ricardo

Ricardo, a global strategic environmental and engineering consulting company, has developed a first of  its kind Persistence Assessment Tool to provide manufacturers and importers of chemical substances  and products, regulators, and the scientific community with support and guidance to undertake complex  persistence assessments of chemicals in the environment.

The tool has been developed by Ricardo and  is sponsored by Concawe and the International Collaboration on Cosmetics Safety (ICCS), with support  from the Cefic Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) and the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and  Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC).  

Increased awareness around issues of chemical persistence, including global plastic pollution and the presence  of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or ‘forever chemicals’ in the environment has triggered  numerous global policy initiatives. Most notably the European Union’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability has  proposed new measures for persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) substances, and introduced requirements to  carry out persistence assessments under the classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) regulation. 

More regulatory measures have created dual challenges for the global chemicals industry: first, the significantly  higher demands for chemical biodegradation testing and persistence assessments; and second, the fact that these assessments are highly complex and full of challenges, with notable gaps in available guidance. 

Ricardo’s software-based Persistence Assessment Tool – https://www.ricardo.com/en/news-and insights/insights/persistence-assessment-tool-pat – is addressing both these issues by providing a structured  and clear methodology to systematically capture and store information on persistence; evaluate data quality;  carry out a robust and transparent weight of evidence determination; and assess persistence in line with global  regulatory frameworks. 

The tool is the product of Ricardo’s decades of experience assessing biodegradation  and persistence of chemicals.  

“At Ricardo we have applied  our unique knowledge of and expertise in chemical assessment, safety and global regulation to develop the  Persistence Assessment Tool, which seeks to address several important gaps in current knowledge and  approaches for persistence assessments. We anticipate that it will be the trusted, key tool in facilitating the  large number of persistence assessments requiring to be completed under global regulatory frameworks in the  coming years,” said Chris Hughes, head of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology at Ricardo.

 “Concawe saw a need to have a transparent weight-of-evidence framework to facilitate consistency in test interpretation and that is exactly what the Persistence  Assessment Tool delivers. It allows the incorporation of non-standard test data and reconciles conflicting data,” said Delina Lyon, science executive at Concawe. 

“The cosmetic  industry is committed to assess its ingredients using the best available science to address environmental  issues. In the framework of an evolving regulatory context, addressing persistence is key for cosmetics due to  the high number of diverse ingredients used to deliver the best products to our consumers. The Persistence  Assessment Tool provides a transparent assessment of all available data, using the weight of evidence  approach in a robust way, and leading to consolidated conclusions,” added Dr. Véronique Poulsen, head of Environmental Safety at L’Oréal and ICCS Science Chair.