The Council of Canadian Academies Releases an Expert Panel Report

Integrating Emerging Technologies into Chemical Safety Assessment

OTTAWA, Jan. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Protecting human health and the environment is of paramount importance to Canadians. As such, the federal regulation and testing requirements for pesticides has been extensive, and today these chemicals are among the most data-rich in commerce. However, increased regulation around the world means there are thousands of chemicals that still need to be categorized and better understood. The challenge for scientists and regulators is how to achieve this in a timely, efficient and effective manner.

To better understand the challenges and opportunities related to chemical testing and regulation, the Council of Canadian Academies brought together a group of 15 eminent experts from Canada and the United States to discuss the scientific status of the use of integrated testing strategies in the regulatory risk assessment of pesticides.

"Science is advancing in such a way that we now have a deeper understanding of physiology. In order to keep pace with international practices there is an opportunity for Canada to embrace and integrate new technologies and approaches into current chemical testing practices," said Dr. Leonard Ritter, Chair of the Expert Panel. "By drawing upon knowledge from fields such as information science, biology and computational toxicology, testing will become more predictive, specific, reliable, faster, less expensive, and better inform human health risk assessment."

The Council's Expert Panel acknowledged that it will take time and a significant shift in thinking among the research community, regulators and industry to merge new tools and knowledge into existing testing practices.  In addition, the Panel stressed the importance of communicating and engaging with the public to maintain and build confidence in the regulatory system.

The Expert Panel's report, Integrating Emerging Technologies into Chemical Safety Assessment was requested by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). The report is an evidence-based, independent assessment that provides:

  • Insights on current toxicity testing practices in Canada.
  • Examples of how the integration of different disciplines can contribute to the evolution of regulatory toxicity testing.
  • A practical roadmap for integrated approaches for testing and assessment of chemicals over one, five- and 10-year periods.
  • Insights on public perception and risk.

"The Panel's work to fully assess the current status of chemical testing strategies was exhaustive. We are confident that the final report will provide the evidence needed to assist PMRA and other regulatory organizations as they consider the future of chemical testing in Canada and globally," said Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies.

To access the Media Backgrounder please visit: http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/assessments/completed/pesticides.aspx.

For more information, or to download a free copy of the report, please visit http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/assessments/completed/pesticides.aspx.

About the Council of Canadian Academies
The Council of Canadian Academies is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that began operation in 2005. The Council supports evidence-based, expert assessments to inform public policy development in Canada. Assessments are conducted by independent, multidisciplinary panels of experts from across Canada and abroad. The Council's blue-ribbon panels serve free of charge and many are Fellows of the Council's Member Academies: the Royal Society of Canada; the Canadian Academy of Engineering; and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. The Council's vision is to be Canada's trusted voice for science in the public interest. For more information visit www.scienceadvice.ca.

SOURCE Council of Canadian Academies

For further information:

Cate Meechan
Director, Communications
Council of Canadian Academies
Cell: 613.302.6174 / Office: 613.567.5000 x 228
cathleen.meechan@scienceadvice.ca

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