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  • What is Regulatory Toxicology?

  • The Science/Policy Interface in Regulatory Toxicology

  • An Overview of Regulatory Approaches

    • Acceptable Risk

    • Balancing Approaches

    • Feasibility/Best Available Technology

  • Specific Regulatory Programs Utilizing Toxicological Data

    • Food and Drug Administration

      • Food

      • Human Drugs

      • Medical Devices

      • Cosmetics

    • Environmental Protection Agency

      • IRIS Program

      • Pesticides

      • Industrial Chemicals

      • Hazardous Wastes

      • Toxic Water Pollutants

      • Drinking Water

      • Toxic Air Pollutants

    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration

    • Consumer Product Safety Commission

  • Institutional Oversight and Controls

    • Advisory Committees

    • Peer Review

    • Risk Assessment Guidance/Guidelines

    • Judicial Review

    • Congressional Oversight

    • Executive Oversight

  • Regulatory Influences on Toxicology

    • Testing Guidelines

      • Food and Drug Administration

      • Environmental Protection Agency

    • Validation of Alternative Test Methods

    • Computational Toxicology

    • Animal Welfare Requirements

      • Animal Welfare Act

      • Public Health Service Policy

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What is Regulatory Toxicology?

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Regulatory toxicology is a subfield of regulatory science, which addresses the intersection of science with regulation, namely how is science developed, evaluated, and applied in regulatory decision making. Toxicology is one of the most common fields of scientific knowledge utilized in regulatory science, as regulatory agencies often are required to identify and quantify the health risks of the products and activities they seek to regulate. Regulatory toxicology, which must straddle traditional scientific methodologies with the public policy world of regulation, strains to adhere to the standards of good toxicological science while also providing relevant inputs to decision making, which often asks questions that science cannot answer completely or with any certainty. It is the tension between these two different worlds of science and policy that raise many of the most important and challenging issues in regulatory toxicology, many of which will be addressed in this chapter.

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Over the past 40 years, the field of regulatory toxicology has grown enormously as the intersection between regulation and toxicology has expanded dramatically. With the enactment of a series of environmental, health, and safety statutes in the 1970s and 1980s, regulatory agencies increasingly rely on toxicological science to identify potential hazards, prioritize chemicals and other potentially toxic substances, and provide the data used for assessing risk. Regulators are not merely consumers of toxicological studies but also help shape toxicology science in important ways. Regulatory programs have provided a major impetus for improvements in toxicology methods, and they have stimulated a demand for toxicology studies that meet various regulatory requirements. Some programs, such as the programs of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for licensing drugs, devices, and food additives and that of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for registering pesticides, explicitly demand toxicology studies as a condition for marketing products. Other statutory and regulatory requirements, such as the recent program requiring EPA to screen chemicals for their endocrine disruptor capability, or agencies to evaluate the safety of new nanotechnology applications are a major driver for the development of new types of toxicological assays.

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Regulatory agencies have exercised important influence over the design and conduct of toxicology studies. For example, the EPA is empowered by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to promulgate ...

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