Toward an evidence-based toxicology

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2006 Sep;25(9):497-513. doi: 10.1191/0960327106het648oa.


The increasing demands on toxicology of large-scale risk assessment programmes for chemicals and emerging or expanding areas of chemical use suggest it is timely to review the toxicological toolbox. Like in clinical medicine, where an evidence-based medicine (EBM) is critically reviewing traditional approaches, toxicology has the opportunity to reshape and enlarge its methodology and approaches on the basis of compounded scientific knowledge. Such revision would have to be based on structured reviews of current practice, ie, assessment of test performance characteristics, mechanistic understanding, extended quality assurance, formal validation and the use of integrated testing strategies. This form of revision could optimize the balance between safety, costs and animal welfare, explicitly stating and, where possible, quantifying uncertainties. After a self-critical reassessment of current practices and evaluation of the thus generated information, such an evidence-based toxicology (EBT) promises to make better use of resources and to increase the quality of results, facilitating their interpretation. It shall open up hazard and also risk assessments to new technologies, flexibly accommodating current and future mechanistic understanding. An EBT will be better prepared to answer the continuously growing safety demands of modern societies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Quality Control
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Toxicity Tests / methods*
  • Toxicity Tests / standards
  • Toxicology / methods*
  • Toxicology / trends