Application of the threshold of toxicological concern concept to pharmaceutical manufacturing operations

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2005 Oct;43(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2005.06.010.


A scientific rationale is provided for estimating acceptable daily intake values (ADIs) for compounds with limited or no toxicity information to support pharmaceutical manufacturing operations. These ADIs are based on application of the "thresholds of toxicological concern" (TTC) principle, in which levels of human exposure are estimated that pose no appreciable risk to human health. The same concept has been used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish "thresholds of regulation" for indirect food additives and adopted by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives for flavoring substances. In practice, these values are used as a statement of safety and indicate when no actions need to be taken in a given exposure situation. Pharmaceutical manufacturing relies on ADIs for cleaning validation of process equipment and atypical extraneous matter investigations. To provide practical guidance for handling situations where relatively unstudied compounds with limited or no toxicity data are encountered, recommendations are provided on ADI values that correspond to three categories of compounds: (1) compounds that are likely to be carcinogenic, (2) compounds that are likely to be potent or highly toxic, and (3) compounds that are not likely to be potent, highly toxic or carcinogenic. Corresponding ADIs for these categories of materials are 1, 10, and 100 microg/day, respectively.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Industry / standards*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Risk Assessment
  • Threshold Limit Values*
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • World Health Organization
  • Xenobiotics / toxicity*


  • Xenobiotics