Message from the EBTC Board President:
I’d like to thank you for your interest in EBTC and tell you why I am involved with the organization. I am willing to donate my time to achieve EBTC’s goals because I firmly believe that unless people trust the environmental protection, food and medicines safety and consumer protection decisions, and in the truth of the information informing them, they will not trust government actions, nor will they engage in civil discourse. Having been with the EBTC since its early days, I am committed to supporting the EBTC mission to provide transparent, objective and scientifically valid evaluations of evidence to inform decisions. I’m honored to serve as the first elected President of the Board of Trustees, and I hope that you will consider joining me and contribute to one of our growing number of projects and help achieve the EBTC’s goal to provide evidence-based evaluations of toxicology to best inform decisions.
John R. “Jack” Fowle III, PhD, DABT
EBTC was formally founded in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with the vision to improve the public health outcomes and reduce human impact on the environment by bringing evidence-based approaches to safety sciences. EBTC builds upon the outcomes of the First International Forum Toward Evidence-Based Toxicology, held in Cernobbio/Como, Italy on October 15-18, 2007. Now EBTC provides a platform for all the scientists interested in evidence-based toxicology (EBT). Many of the organizers, contributors and participants of the original forum are active in the EBTC today.
The EBTC believes that adopting principles of transparency, objectivity and consistency, similar to Cochrane principles in medicine, will allow regulators, industry and other stakeholders make more informed decisions about the effects of chemicals on human health and environment, determine the validity and accuracy of old and new tests, and eventually bring regulatory science in all industries and on all continents up to date with scientific advances. EBTC is planning to accomplish this by bringing all interested stakeholders together under EBTC’s roof to work on methodological challenges and to apply the evidence-based approaches to high-impact problems that involve safety decisions and have serious public health implications.
The EBTC’s overall aims are to improve toxicological decision-making, facilitate the modernization of the toxicological toolbox, and reinvigorate the safety sciences. As these efforts succeed, all interested parties —including stakeholders in government, industry, academia, and the general public – should have confidence and trust in the process by which scientific evidence is assessed when addressing questions related to the safety of chemicals to human health and the environment.
The EBTC, initially with assistance from the US and EU Steering Committees, and now under the governance of the Board of Trustees and with advice from its Scientific Advisory Council, has started to further the conceptual development of EBT, set priorities, raise awareness, run workshops and create working groups. The working groups are finalizing the guidance documents on conducting systematic reviews in toxicology, including data appraisal and data synthesis, as well as on the application of evidence-based tools to various toxicological practices, such as assessing the hazards and risks of exposure to individual chemicals and assessing the performance of toxicological test methods.
Bringing new approaches to the assessment of test method performance is particularly timely. As toxicology moves to embrace pathway-based approaches (as exemplified by the National Academy of Sciences’ 2007 report on Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century), the field now needs new tools for assessing test method performance, especially as the focus shifts from animal to human biology. Similarly, as test methods are developed to assess effects at multiple levels of biological organization (e.g. organ-on-a-chip), tools will be needed to synthesize such data in ways that are transparent, objective, and systematic. Ultimately, this effort will open up new approaches to hazard and risk assessment with the ability to flexibly integrate new evidence or adapt to it with scientific rigor and transparency.