Publications : 2015

James RC, Britt JK, Halmes NC, Guzelian PS. 2015. Evidence-based causation in toxicology: A 10-year retrospective. Hum Exp Toxicol 34(12):1245–1252.



We introduced Evidence-based Toxicology (EBT) in 2005 to address the disparities that exist between the various Weight-of-Evidence (WOE) methods typically applied in the regulatory hazard decision-making arena and urged toxicologists to adopt the evidence-based guidelines long-utilized in medicine (i.e., Evidence-Based Medicine or EBM). This review of the activities leading to the adoption of evidence-based methods and EBT during the last decade demonstrates how fundamental concepts that form EBT, such as the use of systematic reviews to capture and consider all available information, are improving toxicological evaluations performed by various groups and agencies. We reiterate how the EBT framework, a process that provides a method for performing human chemical causation analyses in an objective, transparent and reproducible manner, differs significantly from past and current regulatory WOE approaches. We also discuss why the uncertainties associated with regulatory WOE schemes lead to a definition of the term ‘‘risk’’ that contains unquantifiable uncertainties not present in this term as it is used in epidemiology and medicine. We believe this distinctly different meaning of ‘‘risk’’ should be clearly conveyed to those not familiar with this difference (e.g., the lay public), when theoretical/nomologic risks associated with chemical-induced toxicities are presented outside of regulatory and related scientific parlance.