We are pleased to present the first issue of the newsletter of the Evidence-Based Toxicology Collaboration (EBTC).
No. 1, 2012
The Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration has been established to promote the use of evidence-based approaches in toxicology and related safety sciences. Such approaches are guided by the themes of transparency, objectivity, and consistency. The anticipated benefits of an evidence-based toxicology (EBT) would be the strengthening of decision making in this field and—through feedback—improving the design and reporting of research.
The concept of an EBT was first introduced in 2005, drawing on parallels to evidence-based medicine (EBM). EBM has strengthened the scientific foundation of decision making in clinical medicine by providing a structured way of assessing evidence in healthcare questions. Initially, EBT was proposed as a means to assess evidence in two areas: the health effects caused by chemicals and the performance assessment of toxicological test methods. Subsequently, the link to EBM was explored further, emphasising the need for more transparent, objective, and consistent approaches in toxicology.
Standard toxicological practice still includes narrative (and thus subjective) reviews, non-transparent weight-of-evidence approaches, inconsistent decision making procedures regarding the assessment of the hazards and risk of individual compounds, reliance on aged toxicological methods of questionable performance, and resource intensive test method validation procedures. These practices compromise decision making and hamper innovation in testing methods.
To remedy these deficiencies, evidence-based approaches have been proposed that build upon EBM methodologies and practices. This translation has recently taken on greater urgency, as standard methodologies for assessing test method performance seem inadequate to the challenge of objectively assessing the methods needed for implementing the widely accepted vision for Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: a Vision and a Strategy proposed by the US National Academy of Sciences in 2007.
Guided by the themes of transparency, objectivity, and consistency, the EBTC promotes the use of evidence-based approaches to strengthen decision making in safety sciences.
All interested parties should have confidence in the process by which scientific evidence is assessed when addressing questions about the safety of substances in human health and the environment and about the performance of the test methods used to address these questions.
The EBTC Secretariat
The Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT), located at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, has served as the EBTC’s secretariat since the latter’s founding in 2011. The secretariat supports closely coordinated Steering Committees in North America (established in 2011 and headed by Martin Stephens) and in Europe (established in 2012 and headed by Sebastian Hoffmann). The members of the Steering Committees are listed on the sidebar.