Mission & Goals
Unless people trust in the truth of the information on which decisions about environmental and consumer protection, and the safety of food and medicines, are based, they will neither trust government actions nor will they engage in civil discourse. - John R. “Jack” Fowle III, PhD, DABT, President of EBTC Board of Trustees
EBTC was formally founded in 2011 at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with the vision to improve public health outcomes and reduce human impact on the environment by bringing evidence-based approaches to the 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 scientists interested in evidence-based toxicology (EBT).
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 to work on methodological challenges and to apply evidence-based approaches to high-impact problems that involve safety decisions and have serious public health implications.
Our 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 for 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 [link] and with advice from its Scientific Advisory Council [link], has started to further the conceptual development of EBT, set priorities, raise awareness, run workshops and create working groups.
The working groups are developing 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.