The NORMAN Association and the European Partnership for Chemicals Risk Assessment (PARC): let’s cooperate!

Valeria Dulio; Jan Koschorreck; Bert van Bavel; Paul van den Brink; Juliane Hollender; John Munthe; Martin Schlabach; Reza Aalizadeh; Marlene Ågerstrand; Lutz Ahrens; Ian Allan; Nikiforos Alygizakis; Damia’ Barcelo’; Pernilla Bohlin‑Nizzetto; Susanne Boutroup; Werner Brack; Adèle Bressy; Jan H. Christensen; Lubos Cirka; Adrian Covaci; Anja Derksen; Geneviève Deviller; Milou M. L. Dingemans; Magnus Engwall; Despo Fatta‑Kassinos; Pablo Gago‑Ferrero; Félix Hernández; Dorte Herzke; Klára Hilscherová; Henner Hollert; Marion Junghans; Barbara Kasprzyk‑Hordern; Steffen Keiter; Stefan A. E. Kools; Anneli Kruve; Dimitra Lambropoulou; Marja Lamoree; Pim Leonards; Benjamin Lopez; Miren López de Alda; Lian Lundy; Jarmila Makovinská; Ionan Marigómez; Brendan McHugh; Cécile Miège; Simon O’Toole; Noora Perkola; Stefano Polesello; Leo Posthuma; Sara Rodriguez‑Mozaz; Ivo Roessink; Pawel Rostkowski; Heinz Ruedel; Saer Samanipour; Tobias Schulze; Emma L. Schymanski; Manfred Sengl; Peter Tarábek; Dorien Ten Hulscher; Nikolaos Thomaidis; Anne Togola; Sara Valsecchi; Stefan van Leeuwen; Peter von der Ohe; Katrin Vorkamp; Branislav Vrana; Jaroslav Slobodnik
2020 | Environ Sci Eur | 32 (100)

Pharmaceuticals and Environment: a web-based decision support for considering environmental aspects of medicines in use

Ramström H; Martini S; Borgendahl J; Ågerstrand M; Lärfars G; Ovesjö M-L;
2020 | Eur. J. Clin. Pharmacol.

Emerging investigator series: use of behavioural endpoints in the regulation of chemicals

Ågerstrand M; Arnold K, Balshine S, Brodin T, Brooks BW, Maack G, McCallum ES, Pyle G, Saaristo M, Ford AT
2020 | Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts | 22 (49-65)

Interest in behavioural ecotoxicology is growing, partly due to technological and computational advances in recording behaviours but also because of improvements of detection capacity facilitating reporting effects at environmentally relevant concentrations. The peer-reviewed literature now contains studies investigating the effects of chemicals, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals, on migration, dispersal, aggression, sociability, reproduction, feeding and anti-predator behaviours in vertebrates and invertebrates. To understand how behavioural studies could be used in regulatory decision-making we: (1) assessed the legal obstacles to using behavioural endpoints in EU chemicals regulation; (2) analysed the known cases of use of behavioural endpoints in EU chemicals regulation; and (3) provided examples of behavioural endpoints of relevance for population level effects. We conclude that the only legal obstacle to the use of behavioural endpoints in EU chemicals regulation is whether an endpoint is considered to be relevant at the population level or not. We also conclude that ecotoxicity studies investigating behavioural endpoints are occasionally used in the EU chemicals regulation, and underscore that behavioural endpoints can be relevant at the population level. To improve the current use of behavioural studies in regulatory decision-making contribution from all relevant stakeholders is required. We have the following recommendations: (1) researchers should conduct robust, well-designed and transparent studies that emphasize the relevance of the study for regulation of chemicals; (2) editors and scientific journals should promote detailed, reliable and clearly reported studies; (3) regulatory agencies and the chemical industry need to embrace new behavioural endpoints of relevance at the population level.

On the issue of transparency and reproducibility in nanomedicine

Hon S. Leong; Kimberly S. Butler; C. Jeffrey Brinker; May Azzawi; Steve Conlan; Christine Dufés; Andrew Owen; Steve Rannard; Chris Scott; Chunying Chen; Marina A. Dobrovolskaia; Serguei V. Kozlov; Adriele Prina-Mello; Ruth Schmid; Peter Wick; Fanny Caputo; Patrick Boisseau; Rachael M. Crist; Scott E. McNeil; Bengt Fadeel; Lang Tran; Steffen Foss Hansen; Nanna B. Hartmann; Lauge P. W. Clausen; Lars M. Skjolding; Anders Baun; Marlene Ågerstrand; Zhen Gu; Dimitrios A. Lamprou; Clare Hoskins; Leaf Huang; Wantong Song; Huiliang Cao; Xuanyong Liu; Klaus D. Jandt; Wen Jiang; Betty Y. S. Kim; Korin E. Wheeler; Andrew J. Chetwynd; Iseult Lynch; Seyed Moein Moghimi; André Nel; Tian Xia; Paul S. Weiss; Bruno Sarmento; José das Neves; Hélder A. Santos; Luis Santos; Samir Mitragotri; Steve Little; Dan Peer; Mansoor M. Amiji; Maria José Alonso; Alke Petri-Fink; Sandor Balog; Aaron Lee; Barbara Drasler; Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser; Stefan Wilhelm; Handan Acar; Roger G. Harrison; Chuanbin Mao; Priyabrata Mukherjee; Rajagopal Ramesh; Lacey R. McNally; Sara Busatto; Joy Wolfram; Paolo Bergese; Mauro Ferrari; Ronnie H. Fang; Liangfang Zhang; Jie Zheng; Chuanqi Peng; Bujie Du; Mengxiao Yu; Danielle M. Charron; Gang Zheng; Chiara Pastore;
2019 | Nat Nanotechnol | 14 (629-635)

Reliability and relevance evaluations of REACH data

Ellen Ingre-Khans; Marlene Ågerstrand; Anna Beronius; Christina Rudén;
2019 | Toxicol. Res.

Regulatory authorities rely on hazard and risk assessments performed under REACH for identifying chemicals of concern and to take action. Therefore, these assessments must be systematic and transparent. This study investigates how registrants evaluate and report data evaluations under REACH and the procedures established by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to support these data evaluations. Data on the endpoint repeated dose toxicity were retrieved from the REACH registration database for 60 substances. An analysis of these data shows that the system for registrants to evaluate data and report these evaluations is neither systematic nor transparent. First, the current framework focuses on reliability, but overlooks the equally important aspect of relevance, as well as how reliability and relevance are combined for determining the adequacy of individual studies. Reliability and relevance aspects are also confused in the ECHA guidance for read-across. Second, justifications for reliability evaluations were mainly based on studies complying with GLP and test guidelines, following the Klimisch method. This may result in GLP and guideline studies being considered reliable by default and discounting non-GLP and non-test guideline data. Third, the reported rationales for reliability were frequently vague, confusing and lacking information necessary for transparency. Fourth, insufficient documentation of a study was sometimes used as a reason for judging data unreliable. Poor reporting merely affects the possibility to evaluate reliability and should be distinguished from methodological deficiencies. Consequently, ECHA is urged to improve the procedures and guidance for registrants to evaluate data under REACH to achieve systematic and transparent risk assessments.

Improving structure and transparency in reliability evaluations of data under REACH: suggestions for a systematic method

Ellen Ingre-Khans; Marlene Ågerstrand; Christina Rudén; Anna Beronius;
2019 | Hum. Ecol. Risk Assess.

The goal of identifying hazardous chemicals registered under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of CHemicals (REACH) Regulation and taking appropriate risk management measures relies on robust data registrations. However, the current procedures for European chemical manufacturers and importers to evaluate data under REACH neither support systematic evaluations of data nor transparently communicate these assessments. The aim of this study was to explore how using a data evaluation method with predefined criteria for reliability and establishing principles for assigning reliability categories could contribute to more structured and transparent evaluations under REACH. In total, 20 peer-reviewed studies for 15 substances registered under REACH were selected for an in-depth evaluation of reliability with the SciRAP tool. The results show that using a method for study evaluation, with clear criteria for assessing reliability and assigning studies to reliability categories, contributes to more structured and transparent reliability evaluations. Consequently, it is recommended to implement a method for evaluating data under REACH with predefined criteria and fields for documenting and justifying the assessments to increase consistency of data evaluations and transparency.

Toxicity studies used in REACH ‐ How accurately are they reported?

Ellen Ingre‐Khans; Marlene Ågerstrand; Anna Beronius; Christina Rudén;
2019 | Toxicol. Res.

Toxicity studies on chemicals registered under REACH are provided as summaries instead of submitting a full study report. Since the registration data are used by regulatory agencies to identify chemicals of concern, the study summaries must accurately reflect the information in studies. A “study summary” should include sufficient information on the objectives, methods, results and conclusions in the full study report to determine the relevance of the study. Sometimes a “robust study summary” is required, which should contain more detailed information to enable an independent assessment of the study. The aim of this investigation is to examine how well published toxicity papers were reflected in study summaries submitted by registrants under REACH. Summaries of 20 published studies (peer‐reviewed studies including one abstract) were examined and broad categories of various types of observed differences were derived. As seen, the extent to which information in the published studies was reported in the study summaries varied. It also varied how accurately the information was reflected. Differences between the published studies and the summaries included simple typing errors, unclear and incomplete reporting as well as the omission of information on for example study design, results or interpretation of the results, which in some of the cases could be considered relevant for the risk assessment. This raises concerns regarding the accuracy of study summaries and their use for decision‐making. Moreover, the possibility for third parties to independently assess and scrutinise the summaries is limited. Considering that we rely on REACH registration data for chemical safety, all data used for risk assessment should be accessible for thorough examination and fully independent assessment.

Improving environmental risk assessments of chemicals: Steps towards evidence-based ecotoxicology.

Martin Olwenn; Adams; Beasley; Belanger; Breton; Brock; Buonsante; Galay Burgos; Green; Guiney; Hall; Hanson M; Harris; Henry; Huggett; Junghans; Laskowski; Maack; Moermond; Panter; Pease; Poulsen; Roberts; Christina Rudén; Schlekat; Schoeters; Solomon; Staveley; Stubblefield; Sumpter; Warne; Wentsel; Wheeler; Wolff; Yamazaki; Zahner; Marlene Ågerstrand;
2019 | Environ Int | 128 (210-2017)

A call for action: Improve reporting of research studies to increase the scientific basis for regulatory decision‐making

Marlene Ågerstrand; Sofie Christiansen; Annika Hanberg; Christina Rudén; Lars Andersson; Sjur Andersen; Henrik Appelgren; Christine Bjørge; Ian Henning Clausen; Dag Markus Eide; Nanna B. Hartmann; Trine Husøy; Halldór Pálmar Halldórsson; Marianne van der Hagen; Ellen Ingre‐Khans; Adam David Lillicrap; Vibe Meister Beltoft; Anna‐Karin Mörk; Mari Murtomaa‐Hautala; Elsa Nielsen; Kristín Ólafsdóttir; Jaana Palomäki; Hinni Papponen; Emilie Marie Reiler; Helene Stockmann‐Juvala; Tiina Suutari; Henrik Tyle; Anna Beronius
2018 | J Appl Toxicol | 1-3

This is a call for action to scientific journals to introduce reporting requirements for toxicity and
ecotoxicity studies. Such reporting requirements will support the use of peer‐reviewed research
studies in regulatory decision‐making. Moreover, this could improve the reliability and reproducibility
of published studies in general and make better use of the resources spent in research.

The Essential Elements of a Risk Governance Framework for Current and Future Nanotechnologies

Stone; Führ; Feindt; Bouwmeester; Linkov; Sabella; Murphy; Bizer; Tran; Ågerstrand M; Fito; Andersen; Anderson; Bergamaschi; Cherrie; Cowan; Dalemcourt; Faure; Gabbert; Gajewicz; Fernandes; Hristozov; Johnston; Lansdown; Linder; Marvin; Mullins; Purnhagen; Puzyn; Jimenez; Scott-Fordsmand; Streftaris; van Tongeren; Voelcker; Voyiatzis; Yannopoulos; Poortvliet.
2018 | Risk Anal.

Societies worldwide are investing considerable resources into the safe development and use
of nanomaterials. Although each of these protective efforts is crucial for governing the risks
of nanomaterials, they are insufficient in isolation. What is missing is a more integrative governance
approach that goes beyond legislation. Development of this approach must be evidence
based and involve key stakeholders to ensure acceptance by end users. The challenge is
to develop a framework that coordinates the variety of actors involved in nanotechnology and
civil society to facilitate consideration of the complex issues that occur in this rapidly evolving
research and development area. Here, we propose three sets of essential elements required
to generate an effective risk governance framework for nanomaterials. (1) Advanced tools to
facilitate risk-based decision making, including an assessment of the needs of users regarding
risk assessment, mitigation, and transfer. (2) An integrated model of predicted human behavior
and decision making concerning nanomaterial risks. (3) Legal and other (nano-specific
and general) regulatory requirements to ensure compliance and to stimulate proactive approaches
to safety. The implementation of such an approach should facilitate and motivate
good practice for the various stakeholders to allow the safe and sustainable future development
of nanotechnology.

Making the most of expert judgment in hazard and risk assessment of chemicals

Beronius A; Ågerstrand M
2017 | Toxicology

Evaluation of the reliability and relevance of toxicity and ecotoxicity studies is an integral step in the assessment of the hazards and risks of chemicals. This evaluation is inherently reliant on expert judgment, which often leads to differences between experts’ conclusions regarding how individual studies can contribute
to the body of evidence. The conclusions of regulatory assessment, such as establishing safe exposure levels for humans and the environment and calculations of margins of exposure, may have large consequences for which chemicals are permitted on the market and their allowed uses. It is therefore important that such assessments are based on all reliable and relevant scientific data, and that assessment principles and assumptions, such as expert judgment, are transparently applied. It is not possible nor desirable to completely eliminate expert judgment from the evaluation of (eco)toxicity studies. However, it is desirable to introduce measures that increase structure and transparency in the evaluation process so as to provide scientifically robust risk assessments that can be used for regulatory decision making. In this article we present results from workshop exercises with Nordic experts to illustrate how experts’ evaluations regarding the reliability and relevance of (eco)toxicity studies for risk assessment may vary and discuss methods intended to promote structure and transparency in the evaluation process.

An academic researcher’s guide to increased impact on regulatory assessment of chemicals.

Ågerstrand ; Sobek A; Lilja K; Linderoth M; Wendt-Rasch L; Wernersson A-S; Rudén C.
2017 | Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts

The interactions between academic research and regulatory assessment of chemicals may in theory seem straightforward: researchers perform studies, and these studies are used by regulators for decision-making. However, in practice the situation is more complex, and many factors decide a research study’s regulatory use. According to several EU chemical legislations, all available and relevant studies can be used in hazard and risk assessment of chemicals. However, in practice, standard tests conducted under GLP and sponsored and provided by industry are predominantly used. Peer-reviewed studies from independent sources are often disregarded or disputed since they often do not comply with regulatory data requirements and quality criteria. There are several possible reasons for this, one being that academic research is reported in a way that does not fit the regulatory requirements. To help bridge such a gap, the aim of this paper is to give an overview of the general workings of chemicals legislation and propose a set of actions to increase the usability of research data. In the end, this may increase the use of academic research for decision-making and ultimately result in more science-based policies. From a policy perspective, useful scientific evidence are those studies that are sufficiently reliable and relevant. This is not in contradiction to the aims of research and generally accepted scientific standards.

Contact information

Visiting addresses:

Geovetenskapens Hus,
Svante Arrhenius väg 8, Stockholm

Arrheniuslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16, Stockholm (Unit for Toxicological Chemistry)

Mailing address:
Department of Environmental Science
Stockholm University
106 91 Stockholm

Press enquiries should be directed to:

Stella Papadopoulou
Science Communicator
Phone +46 (0)8 674 70 11
stella.papadopoulou@aces.su.se