Improving risk assessment: Toxicological research needs

Mark Toraason, Mel Andersen, Matthew S. Bogdanffy, David Dankovic, Elaine Faustman, Paul Foster, Clay Frederick, Lynne Haber, Carole A. Kimmel, Steven Lewis, Roger McClellan, Ronald Melnick, Frank Mirer, Kevin Morgan, Val Schaeffer, Ellen Silbergeld, William Slikker, James Swenberg, Harri Vainio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A workshop convened to define research needs in toxicology identified several deficiencies in data and methods currently applied in risk assessment. The workshop panel noted that improving the link between chemical exposure and toxicological response requires a better understanding of the biological basis for inter- and intra-human variability and susceptibility. This understanding will not be complete unless all life stages are taken into consideration. Because animal studies serve as a foundation for toxicological assessment, proper accounting for cross-species extrapolation is essential. To achieve this, adjustments for dose-rate effects must be improved, which will aid in extrapolating toxicological responses to low doses and from short-term exposures. Success depends on greater use of validated biologically based doseresponse models that include pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data. Research in these areas will help define uncertainty factors and reduce reliance on underlying default assumptions. Throughout the workshop the panel recognized that biomedical science and toxicology in particular is on the verge of a revolution because of advances in genomics and proteomics. Data from these high-output technologies are anticipated to greatly improve risk assessment by enabling scientists to better define and model the elements of the relationship between exposure to biological hazards and health risks in populations with differing susceptibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1419
Number of pages15
JournalHuman and Ecological Risk Assessment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Dose response
  • Exposure assessment
  • Genomics
  • Life stages
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Susceptibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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