Reliance on animal tests for chemical safety assessment is increasingly being challenged, not only because of ethical reasons, but also because they procrastinate regulatory decisions and because of concerns over the transferability of results to humans. New approach methodologies (NAMs) need to be fit for purpose and new thinking is required to reconsider chemical legislation, validation of NAMs and opportunities to move away from animal tests. This article summarizes the presentations from a symposium at the 2022 Annual Congress of the British Toxicology Society on the topic of the future of chemical risk assessment in the 21st century. The symposium included three case-studies where NAMs have been used in safety assessments. The first case illustrated how read-across augmented with some in vitro tests could be used reliably to perform the risk assessment of analogues lacking data. The second case showed how specific bioactivity assays could identify an NAM point of departure (PoD) and how this could be translated through physiologically based kinetic modelling in an in vivo PoD for the risk assessment. The third case showed how adverse-outcome pathway (AOP) information, including molecular-initiating event and key events with their underlying data, established for certain chemicals could be used to produce an in silico model that is able to associate chemical features of an unstudied substance with specific AOPs or AOP networks. The manuscript presents the discussions that took place regarding the limitations and benefits of these new approaches, and what are the barriers and the opportunities for their increased use in regulatory decision making.
Risk assessment in the 21st century: where are we heading?
Brescia S; Alexander-White C; Hequn L; Cayley A;