Improving Toxicity Testing for Better Decision-making

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Overarching Challenges

Improving Toxicity Testing for Better Decision-making

John R. Fowle, III, Science to Inform, LLCPublished: August 10, 2015

About the Author(s)
Dr. John R. “Jack” Fowle, III is the principal of Science to Inform, LLC where he is an independent consultant advising clients about the use of science to inform decisions regarding environmental risk and in the development and use of alternatives for animal testing.

Prior to 2012 he was the Deputy Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Health Effects Division in the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) in Washington, DC and was responsible for directing the health risk assessment activities supporting the re-registration of existing pesticides and helping to manage the integration of new toxicological approaches into OPP’s human health risk assessments, including coordination of the Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) activities across EPA, and co-chairing the OECD’s Validation Method Group Non-Animal (VMG NA) responsible for international harmonization of alternative methods to assess endocrine disruption. Before coming to OPP he was Director of EPA’s Neurotoxicology Division at the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab (NHEERL) in Research Triangle Park, NC. There he implemented programs to develop alternatives to animal approaches and helped establish the Agency’s computational toxicology program. He also served as Assistant Laboratory Director in NHEERL managing the research program on commercial chemicals across the both health and ecological effects research divisions. A large part of his work was to develop approaches to support the screening and prioritization of chemicals and the enhanced interpretation of data using QSAR and alternative animal tests. He has served as Deputy Director of EPA’s Science Advisory Board and as the Science Advisor to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Since retiring from EPA he has been asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the Institute of In Vitro Sciences in Gaithersburg, MD and for the Evidence Based Toxicology Consortium for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Tests. He is an AltTox editor, a Councilor for the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology and President for the Society of Toxicology’s In Vitro and Alternative Methods Specialty section. He served on the Steering Committee for the Evidence Based Toxicology Consortium at Johns Hopkins University where he co-chaired the Governance and Work Processes Work Group. He received both his baccalaureate and doctoral degrees in genetics from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

John R. “Jack” Fowle, III, Ph.D.
Science to Inform, LLC

Editor’s note: We are grateful to Chemical & Engineering News for permission to present this brief excerpt from a commentary by Editorial Board member, Jack Fowle.

“… Evidence is mounting that traditional, largely animal-based tests do not always reasonably predict results in humans. However, the approaches are time-tested and have generally provided an effective basis for risk management decisions. We, as a society, developed a social contract more than 50 years ago to tacitly accept the results from these traditional 20th-century toxicity tests to inform policy decisions even given their flaws. Despite significant test improvements, decisions made decades ago using the earliest of these tests are still considered valid. How do we capitalize on the advances and move to a faster, more efficient testing regime using new in vitro, in silico, and other smarter studies to provide better data, and importantly, convince the public that those data are more informative? …”

Read the entire commentary at Chemical & Engineering News.