Predicting Future Human and Environmental Health Challenges: The Health and Environmental Sciences Institute’s Scientific Mapping Exercise

  • Publication Date :
  • Publication Type : Journal Article
  • Author(s) : Smith LL, Brent RL, Cohen SM, Doerrer NG, Goodman JI, Greim H, Holsapple MP, Lightfoot RM
  • Journal Name : Critical Reviews in Toxicology

Critical Reviews in Toxicology. 2008;38(10):817-845

Abstract: To predict important strategic issues in product safety during the next 10 years, the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) of the International Life Sciences Institute initiated a mapping exercise to evaluate which issues are likely to be of societal, scientific, and regulatory importance to regulatory authorities, the HESI membership, and the scientific community at large. Scientists representing government, academia, and industry participated in the exercise. Societal issues identified include sensitive populations, alternative therapies, public education on the precautionary principle, obesity, and aging world populations. Scientific issues identified include cancer testing, children's health, mixtures and co-exposures, sensitive populations, idiosyncratic reactions, “omics” or bioinformatics, and environmental toxicology. Regulatory issues identified include national and regional legislation on chemical safety, exposure inputs, new technologies, transitioning new science into regulations and guidelines, conservative default factors, data quality, and sensitive populations. Because some issues were identified as important in all three areas (e.g. sensitive populations), a comprehensive approach to assessment and management is needed to ensure consideration of societal, scientific, and regulatory implications. The resulting HESI Combined Challenges Map is not intended to offer a universal description of challenges in safety assessment, nor is it intended to address, advocate, or manage the prioritized issues. Rather, the map focuses on and predicts issues likely to be central to the strategic agendas of individual companies and regulatory authorities in the developed world. Many of these issues will become increasingly important in the future in rapidly developing economies, such as India and China. The scientific mapping exercise has particular value to the toxicology community because it represents the contributions of key scientists from around the world from government, academia, and industry.

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