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Syngenta scientist outlines new risk-assessment approach

China Agriculture Report By CnAgriChina Agriculture Report Print Speaking to scientists at the Society of Toxicology (SOT) FutureTox Meeting Oct. 18 in Washington, D.C., Syngenta Principal Scientist Timothy Pastoor, Ph.D., DABT, outlined a new approach to human-health risk assessment being developed by representatives of government, industry, academia and nongovernmental organizations.

During the meeting, scientists discussed new, emerging technologies and approaches for determining human safety. Two National Academies of Sciences reports have called for developing better methods of toxicity testing and human-health risk assessment, using fewer animals.

Pastoor offered insights on RISK21, a systematic and transparent risk-assessment model that considers both possible exposure and potential toxicity. These approaches would reduce the need for animals in toxicity testing. The RISK21 project is coordinated by the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), a nonprofit institution whose mission is to engage scientists from academia, government and industry to identify and resolve global health and environmental issues.

"As toxicologists, we can do a better job using available data and new technologies to identify human health hazards,” said Pastoor, co-chair of the RISK21 project. “We have the technology to make more accurate risk assessments that use fewer resources – including animals – and take into account both toxicity and exposure. We just need to use it,” he added.

"The most valuable, accurate risk assessments reflect not only potential toxicity but also how much exposure we have to a particular substance,” Pastoor said. "It’s this part of the risk assessment that helps us determine how much of a substance is too much. One of the challenges of having sophisticated scientific instruments that can detect minute amounts of a compound is that people can lose perspective about what amount of a substance is harmless. Just because something can be measured does not mean it has an effect on humans. That needs to be part of the risk assessment equation.”

Pastoor’s presentation was part of the SOT’s “Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology” series. These discussions promote a productive exchange of ideas concerning effective and efficient implementation of the latest toxicity testing technologies to improve hazard prediction and risk assessment. This FutureTox meeting was sponsored and partially funded by SOT, and underwritten by HESI, the American Chemistry Council, the Human Toxicology Project Consortium and the Food and Drug Administration.

Pastoor has more than 30 years of international experience in fundamental toxicity testing, mode-of-action research and human-health risk assessment. He is a member of the Society of Toxicology and a board member of both the Toxicology Forum and HESI.

Pastoor often serves as a science expert and lecturer on toxicology and risk assessment for Syngenta. He previously served as the company’s head of Human Safety, managing a team of toxicologists and risk-assessment experts who use safety, health and environmental studies to ensure product safety.

Pastoor earned his doctorate in toxicology from the University of Michigan and is certified by the American Board of Toxicology (DABT).
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