The authors who have worked across academe, government and commercial product research, development and regulation, note application of these approaches and classification schemes can lead to unfounded public concerns and reactionary public policies.
Imperial College London Department of Medicine's Professor Alan Boobis said."This hazard-identification only process places chemicals with widely differing potencies and very different modes of action into the same category. The consequences are unnecessary health scares and unnecessary diversion of public funds."
The commentary recommends updating evaluation approaches by these and other international governmental organizations to utilize internationally accepted methodologies already used by many government regulatory bodies for cancer risk assessment using existing consensus-based frameworks including those of the World Health Organization's International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS).
Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Senior Science Advisor Rita Schoeney said: "Advances in the science of risk assessment and chemical risk management are not reflected in the outmoded IARC hazard-only evaluation approach/ US EPA and other regulatory groups apply the most comprehensive and up to date approaches to their assessments in support of risk management decisions. This ensures that chemicals potentially toxic to humans are identified and exposure is minimized before adverse health effects are seen in populations."Timothy Pastoor, PhD, a former industry senior scientist, said: "Health scares triggered by recently published IARC reports have resulted in governments and public agencies responding with costly supplemental reviews and, in some cases, restrictions or bans on products which had significant public benefits. By promoting and defending this solely hazard-based approach, society loses important tools and often replaces them with less effective, sometimes more toxic alternatives with no basis in sound science."
The authors conclude that hazard-only based research plays a role in risk assessment but is inadequate to guide appropriate risk management decisions. The authors urge the adoption of modern strategies that combine hazard and risk characterization to avoid unintended consequences of manufactured health scares, incurring unnecessary costs and diversions of public funds.
Source: Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology: