Sustainability Chemical Industry

The significance of persistence assessments for the chemical sector

15 Apr 2024


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 new hazard class for persistent, mobile and toxic/very persistent very mobile (PMT/vPvM) 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 addresses 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. 

Ricardo has applied over 50 years of world-leading expertise in chemical safety and legislation to develop the Persistence Assessment Tool – a first of its kind – to provide manufacturers and importers of chemical substances and products, regulators, and the scientific community with support and guidance when undertaking complex persistence assessments of chemicals in the environment. Developed by Ricardo and sponsored by Concawe and the International Collaboration on Cosmetics Safety (ICCS), the tool is also supported by the Cefic Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) and the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC).


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Since its launch in April 2023, the tool has supported organisations to improve the consistency, transparency and robustness of chemical assessments required by global regulations.

Chris Hughes, Head of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology at Ricardo said: “we have applied our unique knowledge of and expertise in chemical assessment, safety and global regulation to develop the Tool to address several important gaps in current knowledge and approaches for persistence assessments.” 

Delina Lyon, Science Executive at Concawe said: “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.”

Dr Véronique Poulsen, Head of Environmental Safety at L’Oréal – ICCS Science Chair, said: “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.”

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On-demand training session

The Persistence Assessment Tool (PAT) has been developed by Ricardo in response to the growing interest in the environmental persistence of chemicals, and a need for support to conduct these complex assessments. This training session provides an in-depth look at the use of the tool, including the background and purpose, an overview of features and workflow, and a walkthrough of an example assessment.

Access the on-demand training session now 


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