Untapped resources: Finding the right ecotox studies for risk assessment, with Christina Rudén

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Image from A Tour in Wales, by Thomas Pennant, available from the National Library of Wales (CC-PD-Mark).

Podcast Summary:

It’s tempting to assume that ecotoxicologists of all professions utilize peer-reviewed studies as part of their research when conducting hazard or risk assessments under a regulatory framework. Yet that is not always the case, quite the contrary in fact. While it’s easy to incorporate the results of a study conducted under standardized methods such as good laboratory practices, the vast majority of studies do not conform to universal protocols, making it harder for regulators to vet and extract necessary data. Enter relevance assessment: an evaluation designed to help practitioners identify the most appropriate sources for the topic being addressed. Christina Rudén and colleagues offer practical guidance to evaluating relevance in their article “Assessing the relevance of ecotoxicological studies for regulatory decision making.” The article is part of the special series “Improving the Usability of Ecotoxicology in Regulatory Decision-Making.” Access the series in the July 2017 issue of IEAM.

About the Guest

Christina RudénChristina Rudén is a Professor of regulatory toxicology and ecotoxicology at the Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University, in Sweden. Her research focuses on analyzing and evaluating the workings of the regulatory system for chemicals control, i.e., the chain of events from regulatory test requirements and (eco)toxicity testing, via risk assessment to risk management decision making. The overall purpose of this research is to contribute to developing scientifically well-motivated improvements of the legal system and its practices. Systematic studies of the actual workings of chemicals control have the potential to identify unwanted influences or outcomes of the process, and point to the need to ensure that the process is transparent and efficiently serve the purposes of risk management. Rudén has published more than 60 articles about regulatory toxicology in international peer-reviewed journals. She is a Member of the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) Management Board, and a member of the Swedish Chemicals Agency’s Supervisory Council.

Articles Referenced in this Podcast

Rudén C, Adams J, Ågerstrand M, Brock TC, Poulsen V, Schlekat CE, Wheeler JR, Henry T R. 2017. Assessing the relevance of ecotoxicological studies for regulatory decision making. Integr Environ Assess Manag 13: 652–663. doi:10.1002/ieam.1846

Hazard vs risk: Peter Matthiessen on assessing environmental effects of endocrine disruptors

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Credit: Jocelyn Wallace, CC BY-SA 2.0.

From the infamous bisphenol A (BPA) to feminized male fish, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDS) remain at the center of many controversies involving chemicals in consumer products. International efforts to address concerns over ecotoxicological effects from EDS include both risk- and hazard-based approaches to preventing adverse effects, depending on the country or intergovernmental agency. A recent SETAC Pellston workshop convened researchers from all over the world to advise on how regulators and policy makers can make science-based decisions when evaluating EDS. Workshop organizer and lead author Peter Matthiessen joins us to discuss the synthesis paper from the workshop, “Recommended approaches to the scientific evaluation of ecotoxicological hazards and risks of endocrine-active substances.” His article leads off the special series “Ecotoxicological Hazard and Risk Assessment Approaches for Endocrine-Active Substances.” Access the full series in the March 2017 issue of IEAM.

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