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1.  “A Good Personal Scientific Relationship”: Philip Morris Scientists and the Chulabhorn Research Institute, Bangkok 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(12):e238.
This paper examines the efforts of consultants affiliated with Philip Morris (PM), the world's leading transnational tobacco corporation, to influence scientific research and training in Thailand via the Chulabhorn Research Institute (CRI). A leading Southeast Asian institute for environmental health science, the CRI is headed by Professor Dr. Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn, the daughter of the King of Thailand, and it has assumed international significance via its designation as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in December 2005.
Methods and Findings
This paper analyses previously confidential tobacco industry documents that were made publicly available following litigation in the United States. PM documents reveal that ostensibly independent overseas scientists, now identified as industry consultants, were able to gain access to the Thai scientific community. Most significantly, PM scientist Roger Walk has established close connections with the CRI. Documents indicate that Walk was able to use such links to influence the study and teaching of environmental toxicology in the institute and to develop relations with key officials and local scientists so as to advance the interests of PM within Thailand and across Asia. While sensitivities surrounding royal patronage of the CRI make public criticism extremely difficult, indications of ongoing involvement by tobacco industry consultants suggest the need for detailed scrutiny of such relationships.
The establishment of close links with the CRI advances industry strategies to influence scientific research and debate around tobacco and health, particularly regarding secondhand smoke, to link with academic institutions, and to build relationships with national elites. Such strategies assume particular significance in the national and regional contexts presented here amid the globalisation of the tobacco pandemic. From an international perspective, particular concern is raised by the CRI's recently awarded status as a WHO Collaborating Centre. Since the network of WHO Collaborating Centres rests on the principle of “using national institutions for international purposes,” the documents presented below suggest that more rigorous safeguards are required to ensure that such use advances public health goals rather than the objectives of transnational corporations.
Jeff Collin and Ross MacKenzie analyze tobacco industry documents and find that Philip Morris consultants were able to gain access to a Thai research institute that is a WHO Collaborating Centre.
Editors' Summary
Tobacco use kills 5.4 million people a year (one person every six seconds) and accounts for one in ten adult deaths worldwide. Globally, the use of tobacco is on the rise, especially in developing countries, which have become a major target for tobacco industry marketing. The tobacco industry has worked hard to try and influence public perceptions about the risks of smoking and the risk of inhaling secondhand smoke (passive smoking). The industry has used a variety of tactics to downplay the health hazards of smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke—two examples are publishing articles casting doubts about the health hazards of tobacco and funding research that is biased toward giving pro-industry results. Another tactic is for tobacco industry consultants to try and gain entry to universities and other academic centers to see if they can influence research and teaching activities.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers were concerned that consultants from the tobacco company Philip Morris had gained access to an academic research center in Thailand called the Chulabhorn Research Institute (CRI). The CRI is an internationally renowned teaching institution for a variety of scientific disciplines, including environmental toxicology (the study of how chemicals in the environment, such as tobacco smoke, can affect human health), biomedicine, and biotechnology. The institute has secured funding from the Thai government, the Association of Southeast Nations and the United Nations Development Programme. In 2005 the institute's environmental toxicology unit was designated a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre. WHO Collaborating Centres are “institutions such as research institutes, parts of universities or academies, that are designated by the Director-General of the WHO to carry out activities in support of the WHO's programs” ( The researchers were concerned that Philip Morris consultants had been able to develop relationships with the CRI to help advance the company's interests.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed previously confidential tobacco industry documents that were made publicly available online following litigation in the United States. They searched two online collections of industry documents—the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library and Tobacco Documents Online—as well as the online collections operated by US-based tobacco companies. They found that consultants to Philip Morris were able to gain access to the scientific community in Thailand. A Philip Morris scientist named Roger Walk was able to establish close connections to the CRI, and he used these connections to influence research and teaching activities at the CRI on environmental toxicology. Walk was also able to build relationships with government officials and scientists in Thailand to help advance the interests of Philip Morris in the country and across Asia.
What Do these Findings Mean?
This study provides evidence that the tobacco industry has established close links with a research institute in Thailand that collaborates with the WHO, and has been able to influence the institute's teaching curriculum and research. Such links are of great concern to the public health community, which is working hard to reduce deaths and disease due to tobacco. These links raise the possibility that the tobacco industry is managing to influence medical research and teaching at academic institutions. The WHO has stated that a firewall is in place between itself and the tobacco industry—but the study authors argue, based on their findings, that “this firewall is not impenetrable.” The study findings, they conclude, highlight a challenge posed to international tobacco control efforts, especially with respect to Article 5.3 of an international treaty called the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; Article 5.3 addresses the need to protect public health policies from the vested interests of the tobacco industry. The authors say that better safeguards must be put in place to prevent tobacco companies from thwarting public health goals.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The Legacy Tobacco Documents Library contains over 9.7 million documents created by tobacco companies
Tobacco Documents Online contains over 4 million tobacco industry documents
Over 900 WHO Collaborating Centres are at work in 99 Member States on many health disciplines
The WHO held an inquiry in 2000 into possible tobacco industry influence over the organization (and over other UN agencies), and has published its recommendations in response to this inquiry
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is an international treaty on controlling tobacco
PMCID: PMC2605886  PMID: 19108600
2.  The Toxicology Education Summit: Building the Future of Toxicology Through Education 
Toxicological Sciences  2012;127(2):331-338.
Toxicology and careers in toxicology, as well as many other scientific disciplines, are undergoing rapid and dramatic changes as new discoveries, technologies, and hazards advance at a blinding rate. There are new and ever increasing demands on toxicologists to keep pace with expanding global economies, highly fluid policy debates, and increasingly complex global threats to public health. These demands must be met with new paradigms for multidisciplinary, technologically complex, and collaborative approaches that require advanced and continuing education in toxicology and associated disciplines. This requires paradigm shifts in educational programs that support recruitment, development, and training of the modern toxicologist, as well as continued education and retraining of the midcareer professional to keep pace and sustain careers in industry, government, and academia. The Society of Toxicology convened the Toxicology Educational Summit to discuss the state of toxicology education and to strategically address educational needs and the sustained advancement of toxicology as a profession. The Summit focused on core issues of: building for the future of toxicology through educational programs; defining education and training needs; developing the “Total Toxicologist”; continued training and retraining toxicologists to sustain their careers; and, finally, supporting toxicology education and professional development. This report summarizes the outcomes of the Summit, presents examples of successful programs that advance toxicology education, and concludes with strategies that will insure the future of toxicology through advanced educational initiatives.
PMCID: PMC3355314  PMID: 22461448
toxicology; education
3.  The Toxic Effects of Cigarette Additives. Philip Morris' Project Mix Reconsidered: An Analysis of Documents Released through Litigation 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(12):e1001145.
Stanton Glantz and colleagues analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents and peer-reviewed published results of Philip Morris' Project MIX about research on cigarette additives, and show that this research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value.
In 2009, the promulgation of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tobacco regulation focused attention on cigarette flavor additives. The tobacco industry had prepared for this eventuality by initiating a research program focusing on additive toxicity. The objective of this study was to analyze Philip Morris' Project MIX as a case study of tobacco industry scientific research being positioned strategically to prevent anticipated tobacco control regulations.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents to identify internal strategies for research on cigarette additives and reanalyzed tobacco industry peer-reviewed published results of this research. We focused on the key group of studies conducted by Phillip Morris in a coordinated effort known as “Project MIX.” Documents showed that Project MIX subsumed the study of various combinations of 333 cigarette additives. In addition to multiple internal reports, this work also led to four peer-reviewed publications (published in 2001). These papers concluded that there was no evidence of substantial toxicity attributable to the cigarette additives studied. Internal documents revealed post hoc changes in analytical protocols after initial statistical findings indicated an additive-associated increase in cigarette toxicity as well as increased total particulate matter (TPM) concentrations in additive-modified cigarette smoke. By expressing the data adjusted by TPM concentration, the published papers obscured this underlying toxicity and particulate increase. The animal toxicology results were based on a small number of rats in each experiment, raising the possibility that the failure to detect statistically significant changes in the end points was due to underpowering the experiments rather than lack of a real effect.
The case study of Project MIX shows tobacco industry scientific research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value. The results demonstrate that toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes, including the level of TPM. In particular, regulatory authorities, including the FDA and similar agencies elsewhere, could use the Project MIX data to eliminate the use of these 333 additives (including menthol) from cigarettes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The tobacco industry in the United States has recognized that regulation of its products was inevitable as early as 1963 and devoted increasing attention to the likelihood of regulation by the US Food and Drug Administration in the mid-1990s, which finally became law in 2009. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which came into force in June 2003, includes provisions addressing the regulation of the contents of tobacco products and the regulation of tobacco product disclosures. Although these steps represent progress in tobacco control, the events of the past few decades show the determination of the tobacco industry to avoid regulation, including the regulation of additives. In the United States, executives of the tobacco company Philip Morris (PM) recognized the inevitability of regulation and responded by initiating efforts to shape legislation and regulation by reorganizing its internal scientific activities and conducting scientific research that could be used to shape any proposed regulations. For example, the company conducted “Project MIX,” a study of chemical constituents in and toxicity of smoke produced by burning cigarettes containing three different combinations of 333 cigarette additives that “were constructed to resemble typical commercial blended cigarettes.” The resulting four papers published in Food and Chemical Toxicology in January 2002 concluded that there was no evidence of substantial toxicity attributable to the cigarette additives studied.
Why Was This Study Done?
The use of cigarette additives is an important concern of the WHO, FDA, and similar national regulatory bodies around the world. Philip Morris has used the published Project MIX papers to assert the safety of individual additives and other cigarette companies have done similar studies that reached similar conclusions. In this study, the researchers used documents made public as a result of litigation against the tobacco industry to investigate the origins and design of Project MIX and to conduct their own analyses of the results to assess the reliability of the conclusions in the papers published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers systematically examined tobacco industry documents in the University of California San Francisco Legacy Tobacco Documents Library (then about 60 million pages made publicly available as a result of litigation) and used an iterative process of searching, analyzing, and refining to identify and review in detail 500 relevant documents.
The researchers found that in the original Project MIX analysis, the published papers obscured findings of toxicity by adjusting the data by total particulate matter (TPM) concentration. When the researchers conducted their own analysis by studying additives per cigarette (as was specified in the original Project MIX protocol), they found that 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by 20%. The researchers also reported that, for unexplained reasons, Philip Morris deemphasized 19 of the 51 chemicals tested in the presentation of results, including nine that were substantially increased in smoke on a per cigarette basis of additive-added cigarettes, compared to smoke of control cigarettes.
The researchers explored the possibility that the failure of Project MIX to detect statistically significant changes in the toxicity of the smoke from cigarettes containing the additives was due to underpowered experiments rather than lack of a real effect by conducting their own statistical analysis. This analysis suggests that a better powered study would have detected a much broader range of biological effects associated with the additives than was identified in Philip Morris' published paper, suggesting that it substantially underestimated the toxic potential of cigarette smoke and additives.
The researchers also found that Food and Chemical Toxicology, the journal in which the four Project MIX papers were published, had an editor and 11 of its International Editorial Board with documented links to the tobacco industry. The scientist and leader of Project MIX Edward Carmines described the process of publication as “an inside job.”
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the tobacco industry scientific research on the use of cigarette additives cannot be taken at face value: the results demonstrate that toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes. In addition, better powered studies would probably have detected a much broader range of adverse biological effects associated with the additives than identified to those identified in PM's published papers suggesting that the published papers substantially underestimate the toxic potential combination of cigarette smoke and additives.
Regulatory authorities, including the FDA and similar agencies elsewhere who are implementing WHO FCTC, should conduct their own independent analysis of Project MIX data, which, analyzed correctly, could provide a strong evidence base for the elimination of the use of the studied additives (including menthol) in cigarettes on public health grounds.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
For PLoS Medicine's own policy on publishing papers sponsored by the tobacco industry see
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
The documents that the researchers reviewed in this paper can be found at the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library
PMCID: PMC3243707  PMID: 22205885
4.  The New Toxicology of Sophisticated Materials: Nanotoxicology and Beyond 
Toxicological Sciences  2010;120(Suppl 1):S109-S129.
It has long been recognized that the physical form of materials can mediate their toxicity—the health impacts of asbestiform materials, industrial aerosols, and ambient particulate matter are prime examples. Yet over the past 20 years, toxicology research has suggested complex and previously unrecognized associations between material physicochemistry at the nanoscale and biological interactions. With the rapid rise of the field of nanotechnology and the design and production of increasingly complex nanoscale materials, it has become ever more important to understand how the physical form and chemical composition of these materials interact synergistically to determine toxicity. As a result, a new field of research has emerged—nanotoxicology. Research within this field is highlighting the importance of material physicochemical properties in how dose is understood, how materials are characterized in a manner that enables quantitative data interpretation and comparison, and how materials move within, interact with, and are transformed by biological systems. Yet many of the substances that are the focus of current nanotoxicology studies are relatively simple materials that are at the vanguard of a new era of complex materials. Over the next 50 years, there will be a need to understand the toxicology of increasingly sophisticated materials that exhibit novel, dynamic and multifaceted functionality. If the toxicology community is to meet the challenge of ensuring the safe use of this new generation of substances, it will need to move beyond “nano” toxicology and toward a new toxicology of sophisticated materials. Here, we present a brief overview of the current state of the science on the toxicology of nanoscale materials and focus on three emerging toxicology-based challenges presented by sophisticated materials that will become increasingly important over the next 50 years: identifying relevant materials for study, physicochemical characterization, and biointeractions.
PMCID: PMC3145386  PMID: 21177774
nanotechnology; nanotoxicology; engineered nanomaterials; biokinetics; biointeractions; dose; physicochemical characterization
5.  Toxicological Evaluations of Rare Earths and Their Health Impacts to Workers: A Literature Review 
Safety and Health at Work  2013;4(1):12-26.
In concert with the development of new materials in the last decade, the need for toxicological studies of these materials has been increasing. These new materials include a group of rare earths (RE). The use of RE nanotechnology is being considered in some green applications, to increase their efficiency by using nano-sized RE compounds, and therefore hazard evaluation and risk assessment are highly recommended. This review was conducted through an extensive contemplation of the literatures in toxicology with in vitro and in vivo studies. Major aspects reviewed were the toxicological evaluations of these elements and metallic compounds at the molecular and cellular level, animal and human epidemiological studies and environmental and occupational health impacts on workers. We also discuss the future prospect of industries with appliances using RE together with the significance of preventive efforts for workers' health. To establish a safe and healthy working environment for RE industries, the use of biomarkers is increasing to provide sustainable measure, due to demand for information about the health risks from unfavorable exposures. Given the recent toxicological results on the exposure of cells, animals and workers to RE compounds, it is important to review the toxicological studies to improve the current understanding of the RE compounds in the field of occupational health. This will help to establish a sustainable, safe and healthy working environment for RE industries.
PMCID: PMC3601293  PMID: 23516020
Rare earths; Toxicology; Environmental health; Occupational health
6.  The Salmonella Mutagenicity Assay: The Stethoscope of Genetic Toxicology for the 21st Century 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2010;118(11):1515-1522.
According to the 2007 National Research Council report Toxicology for the Twenty-First Century, modern methods (e.g., “omics,” in vitro assays, high-throughput testing, computational methods) will lead to the emergence of a new approach to toxicology. The Salmonella mammalian microsome mutagenicity assay has been central to the field of genetic toxicology since the 1970s. Here we document the paradigm shifts engendered by the assay, the validation and applications of the assay, and how the assay is a model for future in vitro toxicology assays.
Data sources
We searched PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Knowledge using key words relevant to the Salmonella assay and additional genotoxicity assays.
Data extraction
We merged the citations, removing duplicates, and categorized the papers by year and topic.
Data synthesis
The Salmonella assay led to two paradigm shifts: that some carcinogens were mutagens and that some environmental samples (e.g., air, water, soil, food, combustion emissions) were mutagenic. Although there are > 10,000 publications on the Salmonella assay, covering tens of thousands of agents, data on even more agents probably exist in unpublished form, largely as proprietary studies by industry. The Salmonella assay is a model for the development of 21st century in vitro toxicology assays in terms of the establishment of standard procedures, ability to test various agents, transferability across laboratories, validation and testing, and structure–activity analysis.
Similar to a stethoscope as a first-line, inexpensive tool in medicine, the Salmonella assay can serve a similar, indispensable role in the foreseeable future of 21st century toxicology.
PMCID: PMC2974687  PMID: 20682480
Ames assay; carcinogenicity; 21st century toxicology; genetic toxicology; high-throughput assays; Salmonella assay; Salmonella mutagenicity assay
7.  Transparency and translation of science in a modern world 
Environmental Health  2013;12:70.
The co-Editors-in-Chief of Environmental Health respond to an unusual initiative taken by editors of 14 toxicology journals to influence pending decisions by the European Commission to establish a framework for regulating chemicals that pose a hazard to normal function of the endocrine system. This initiative is also the subject of this Commentary in this journal by authors who recently reviewed the subject and who point out inaccuracies in the toxicology editors’ critique. The dispute is about potential public policy development, rather than on science translation and research opportunities and priorities. The toxicology journal editors recommend that chemicals be examined in depth one by one, ignoring modern achievements in biomedical research that would allow new understanding of the effects of classes of toxic substances in complex biological systems. Concerns about policy positions framed as scientific ones are especially important in a time with shrinking public support for biomedical research affects priorities. In such a setting, conflict of interest declarations are important, especially in research publications that address issues of public concern and where financial and other interests may play a role. Science relies on trust, and reasonable disclosure of financial or other potential conflicts is therefore essential. This need has been emphasized by recent discoveries of hidden financial conflicts in publications in toxicology journals, thus misleading readers and the public about the safety of particular industrial products. The transparency provided by Environmental Health includes open access and open peer review, with reader access to reviews, including the identity of reviewers and their statements on possible conflicts of interest. However, the editors of the 14 toxicology journals did not provide any information on potential conflicts of interest, an oversight that needs to be corrected.
PMCID: PMC3765922  PMID: 23981514
Decision Making; Environmental Health Science; Open Access Publishing
8.  Toxic evaluation of organic extracts from airborne particulate matter in Puerto Rico. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2000;108(7):635-640.
In recent years, several hypotheses have emerged to explain the toxicologic activity of particulate matter. Organic compounds, ultrafine particles, biologic components, and transition metals are some of the constituents that reportedly exert some type of adverse effect on human health. A considerable fraction of the urban particulate matter consists of carbon compounds, which originate mostly from anthropogenic sources. The toxicity of organic fractions from particulate matter have been mainly evaluated by considering their mutagenic activity. This research expands on the toxicologic profile of organic compounds adsorbed to particulate matter, specifically in Puerto Rico, by using the cytotoxic neutral red bioassay (NRB). The NRB uses normal human epidermal keratinocytes or other types of cells to measure the effect on cell viability when exposed to organic compounds associated to the particles in the air. We validated the NRB for particulate matter by using a standard reference material (SRM 1649). We used the NRB to determine toxicologic differences of extracts between an urban industrialized site with anthropogenic activity versus a coastal region with less human activity. The cytotoxicity associated with organic compounds in particulate matter collected at the urban industrialized site was detected in both the particulate matter (3/4) 10 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM(10)) and particulate matter (3/4) 100 microm in aerodynamic diameter (PM(100)). Greater toxic effects were observed in PM(10) extracts than in PM(100) extracts, but PM(10) toxic effects were not significantly different from those in PM(100). The extracts from the industrialized site were more cytotoxic than the extracts from coastal reference site, although in the summer, extracts from both sites were significantly cytotoxic to normal human epidermal keratinocytes. In addition, the nonpolar extracts of both PM(10) and PM(100) exerted the greatest cytotoxicity, followed by the polar, and, finally, the moderately polar extract. This study demonstrates that extracts from the Guaynabo industrialized site were more toxic than similar extracts obtained from a reference coastal site in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
PMCID: PMC1638202  PMID: 10903617
9.  Genetic Toxicology in the 21st Century: Reflections and Future Directions 
A symposium at the 40th anniversary of the Environmental Mutagen Society, held from October 24–28, 2009 in St. Louis, MO, surveyed the current status and future directions of genetic toxicology. This article summarizes the presentations and provides a perspective on the future. An abbreviated history is presented, highlighting the current standard battery of genotoxicity assays and persistent challenges. Application of computational toxicology to safety testing within a regulatory setting is discussed as a means for reducing the need for animal testing and human clinical trials, and current approaches and applications of in silico genotoxicity screening approaches across the pharmaceutical industry were surveyed and are reported here. The expanded use of toxicogenomics to illuminate mechanisms and bridge genotoxicity and carcinogenicity, and new public efforts to use high-throughput screening technologies to address lack of toxicity evaluation for the backlog of thousands of industrial chemicals in the environment are detailed. The Tox21 project involves coordinated efforts of four U.S. Government regulatory/research entities to use new and innovative assays to characterize key steps in toxicity pathways, including genotoxic and nongenotoxic mechanisms for carcinogenesis. Progress to date, highlighting preliminary test results from the National Toxicology Program is summarized. Finally, an overview is presented of ToxCast™, a related research program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, using a broad array of high throughput and high content technologies for toxicity profiling of environmental chemicals, and computational toxicology modeling. Progress and challenges, including the pressing need to incorporate metabolic activation capability, are summarized.
PMCID: PMC3160238  PMID: 21538556
genotoxicity; mutagenicity; toxicogenomics; high throughput screening
10.  Metabolomics in Toxicology and Preclinical Research 
ALTEX  2013;30(2):209-225.
Metabolomics, the comprehensive analysis of metabolites in a biological system, provides detailed information about the biochemical/physiological status of a biological system, and about the changes caused by chemicals. Metabolomics analysis is used in many fields, ranging from the analysis of the physiological status of genetically modified organisms in safety science to the evaluation of human health conditions. In toxicology, metabolomics is the -omics discipline that is most closely related to classical knowledge of disturbed biochemical pathways. It allows rapid identification of the potential targets of a hazardous compound. It can give information on target organs and often can help to improve our understanding regarding the mode-of-action of a given compound. Such insights aid the discovery of biomarkers that either indicate pathophysiological conditions or help the monitoring of the efficacy of drug therapies. The first toxicological applications of metabolomics were for mechanistic research, but different ways to use the technology in a regulatory context are being explored. Ideally, further progress in that direction will position the metabolomics approach to address the challenges of toxicology of the 21st century. To address these issues, scientists from academia, industry, and regulatory bodies came together in a workshop to discuss the current status of applied metabolomics and its potential in the safety assessment of compounds. We report here on the conclusions of three working groups addressing questions regarding 1) metabolomics for in vitro studies 2) the appropriate use of metabolomics in systems toxicology, and 3) use of metabolomics in a regulatory context.
PMCID: PMC3821217  PMID: 23665807
metabolomics; toxicology; preclinical research; regulatory toxicology
11.  A Multi-Stakeholder Perspective on the Use of Alternative Test Strategies for Nanomaterial Safety Assessment 
ACS nano  2013;7(8):6422-6433.
There has been a conceptual shift in toxicological studies from describing what happens to explaining how the adverse outcome occurs, thereby enabling a deeper and improved understanding of how biomolecular and mechanistic profiling can inform hazard identification and improve risk assessment. Compared to traditional toxicology methods, which have a heavy reliance on animals, new approaches to generate toxicological data are becoming available for the safety assessment of chemicals, including high-throughput and high-content screening (HTS, HCS). With the emergence of nanotechnology, the exponential increase in the total number of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in research, development, and commercialization requires a robust scientific approach to screen ENM safety in humans and the environment rapidly and efficiently. Spurred by the developments in chemical testing, a promising new toxicological paradigm for ENMs is to use alternative test strategies (ATS), which reduce reliance on animal testing through the use of in vitro and in silico methods such as HTS, HCS, and computational modeling. Furthermore, this allows for the comparative analysis of large numbers of ENMs simultaneously and for hazard assessment at various stages of the product development process and overall life cycle. Using carbon nanotubes as a case study, a workshop bringing together national and international leaders from government, industry, and academia was convened at the University of California, Los Angeles to discuss the utility of ATS for decision-making analyses of ENMs. After lively discussions, a short list of generally shared viewpoints on this topic was generated, including a general view that ATS approaches for ENMs can significantly benefit chemical safety analysis.
PMCID: PMC4004078  PMID: 23924032
12.  Toxicological Evaluation of Lactase Derived from Recombinant Pichia pastoris 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106470.
A recombinant lactase was expressed in Pichia pastoris, resulting in enzymatic activity of 3600 U/mL in a 5 L fermenter. The lactase product was subjected to a series of toxicological tests to determine its safety for use as an enzyme preparation in the dairy industry. This recombinant lactase had the highest activity of all recombinant strains reported thus far. Acute oral toxicity, mutagenicity, genotoxic, and subchronic toxicity tests performed in rats and mice showed no death in any groups. The lethal dose 50% (LD50) based on the acute oral toxicity study is greater than 30 mL/kg body weight, which is in accordance with the 1500 L milk consumption of a 50 kg human daily. The lactase showed no mutagenic activity in the Ames test or a mouse sperm abnormality test at levels of up to 5 mg/plate and 1250 mg/kg body weight, respectively. It also showed no genetic toxicology in a bone marrow cell micronucleus test at levels of up to 1250 mg/kg body weight. A 90-day subchronic repeated toxicity study via the diet with lactase levels up to 1646 mg/kg (1000-fold greater than the mean human exposure) did not show any treatment-related significant toxicological effects on body weight, food consumption, organ weights, hematological and clinical chemistry, or histopathology compared to the control groups. This toxicological evaluation system is comprehensive and can be used in the safety evaluation of other enzyme preparations. The lactase showed no acute, mutagenic, genetic, or subchronic toxicity under our evaluation system.
PMCID: PMC4153634  PMID: 25184300
13.  Occupational medicine and toxicology 
This editorial is to announce the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, a new Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal published by BioMed Central. Occupational medicine and toxicology belong to the most wide ranging disciplines of all medical specialties. The field is devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, management and scientific analysis of diseases from the fields of occupational and environmental medicine and toxicology. It also covers the promotion of occupational and environmental health. The complexity of modern industrial processes has dramatically changed over the past years and today's areas include effects of atmospheric pollution, carcinogenesis, biological monitoring, ergonomics, epidemiology, product safety and health promotion. We hope that the launch of the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology will aid in the advance of these important areas of research bringing together multi-disciplinary research findings.
PMCID: PMC1436007
14.  New views on the hypothesis of respiratory cancer risk from soluble nickel exposure; and reconsideration of this risk's historical sources in nickel refineries 
While epidemiological methods have grown in sophistication during the 20th century, their application in historical occupational (and environmental) health research has also led to a corresponding growth in uncertainty in the validity and reliability of the attribution of risk in the resulting studies, particularly where study periods extend back in time to the immediate postwar era (1945–70) when exposure measurements were sporadic, unsystematically collected and primitive in technique; and, more so, to the pre-WWII era (when exposure data were essentially non-existent). These uncertainties propagate with animal studies that are designed to confirm the carcinogenicity by inhalation exposure of a chemical putatively responsible for historical workplace cancers since exact exposure conditions were never well characterized. In this report, we present a weight of scientific evidence examination of the human and toxicological evidence to show that soluble nickel is not carcinogenic; and, furthermore, that the carcinogenic potencies previously assigned by regulators to sulphidic and oxidic nickel compounds for the purposes of developing occupational exposure limits have likely been overestimated.
Published, file and archival evidence covering the pertinent epidemiology, biostatistics, confounding factors, toxicology, industrial hygiene and exposure factors, and other risky exposures were examined to evaluate the soluble nickel carcinogenicity hypothesis; and the likely contribution of a competing workplace carcinogen (arsenic) on sulphidic and oxidic nickel risk estimates.
Sharp contrasts in available land area and topography, and consequent intensity of production and refinery process layouts, likely account for differences in nickel species exposures in the Kristiansand (KNR) and Port Colborne (PCNR) refineries. These differences indicate mixed sulphidic and oxidic nickel and arsenic exposures in KNR's historical electrolysis department that were previously overlooked in favour of only soluble nickel exposure; and the absence of comparable insoluble nickel exposures in PCNR's tankhouse, a finding that is consistent with the absence of respiratory cancer risk there. The most recent KNR evidence linking soluble nickel with lung cancer risk arose in a reconfiguration of KNR's historical exposures. But the resulting job exposure matrix lacks an objective, protocol-driven rationale that could provide a valid and reliable basis for analyzing the relationship of KNR lung cancer risk with any nickel species. Evidence of significant arsenic exposure during the processing step in the Clydach refinery's hydrometallurgy department in the 1902–1934 time period likely accounts for most of the elevated respiratory cancer risk observed at that time. An understanding of the mechanism for nickel carcinogenicity remains an elusive goal of toxicological research; as does its capacity to confirm the human health evidence on this subject with animal studies.
Concluding remarks
Epidemiological methods have failed to accurately identify the source(s) of observed lung cancer risk in at least one nickel refinery (KNR). This failure, together with the negative long-term animal inhalation studies on soluble nickel and other toxicological evidence, strongly suggest that the designation of soluble nickel as carcinogenic should be reconsidered, and that the true causes of historical lung cancer risk at certain nickel refineries lie in other exposures, including insoluble nickel compounds, arsenic, sulphuric acid mists and smoking.
PMCID: PMC2743697  PMID: 19698165
15.  Clinical lead poisoning in England: an analysis of routine sources of data 
OBJECTIVE: To examine the occurrence of clinical lead poisoning in England based on routine sources of data. METHODS: Three routine data sources were examined, over different periods according to availability of data: (a) mortality for England, 1981-96; (b) hospital episode statistics data for England, for the 3 years 1 April 1992-31 March 1995; (c) statutory returns to the Health and Safety Executive under the reporting of injuries, diseases, and dangerous occurrences regulations (RIDDOR), also for the period 1 April 1992-31 March 1995. Also, analyses of blood lead concentrations carried out by the Medical Toxicology Unit, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust in London during the period 1 January 1991-31 December 1997 were examined. The analyses were performed both for industrial screening purposes and in response to clinicians' requests where lead poisoning was suspected. This is one of several laboratories carrying out such analyses in the United Kingdom. RESULTS: One death, of a 2 year old girl, was coded to lead poisoning in England during 1981-96. Analysis of hospital episode statistics data identified 83 hospital cases (124 admissions) over 3 years with any mention of lead poisoning, excluding two with admissions dating from 1965 and 1969. For these 83 cases the median hospital stay per admission was 3 days (range 0-115 days). Five were coded as having received intravenous treatment. Further clinical details of these cases beyond what is routinely recorded on the hospital episode statistics database were not available, except for blood lead concentrations in cases also identified on the Medical Toxicology Unit database. Eighteen cases (22%) were below 5 years of age of whom 10 (56%) came from the most deprived quintile of electoral wards. There was evidence to suggest spatial clustering of cases (p = 0.02). Six occupational cases were reported under RIDDOR in England during the period of study, two of whom were identified on the hospital episode statistics database. One further occupational case was identified on hospital episode statistics. Blood lead analyses for 4424 people carried out by the Medical Toxicology Unit (estimated at about 5% of such analyses in England over 7 years) found that among 547 children aged 0-4, 45 (8.2%) had a blood lead concentration in excess of 25 micrograms/dl, the action level in the United Kingdom for investigation, or removal of environmental sources of lead. At all ages, there were 419 (9.5%) such people, including 106 adults with no mention of industrial exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Both mortality and hospital admission ascribed to lead poisoning in England are rare, but cases continue to occur and some, at least, seem to be associated with considerable morbidity. Lead poisoning was confirmed as a probable cause of clinical signs and symptoms in only a small proportion of those in whom a blood lead concentration was requested. Where indicated, appropriate remedial action for the safe removal of environmental sources of lead should be taken.
PMCID: PMC1757691  PMID: 10658538
16.  Accelerating the Development of 21st-Century Toxicology: Outcome of a Human Toxicology Project Consortium Workshop 
Toxicological Sciences  2011;125(2):327-334.
The U.S. National Research Council (NRC) report on “Toxicity Testing in the 21st century” calls for a fundamental shift in the way that chemicals are tested for human health effects and evaluated in risk assessments. The new approach would move toward in vitro methods, typically using human cells in a high-throughput context. The in vitro methods would be designed to detect significant perturbations to “toxicity pathways,” i.e., key biological pathways that, when sufficiently perturbed, lead to adverse health outcomes. To explore progress on the report’s implementation, the Human Toxicology Project Consortium hosted a workshop on 9–10 November 2010 in Washington, DC. The Consortium is a coalition of several corporations, a research institute, and a non-governmental organization dedicated to accelerating the implementation of 21st-century Toxicology as aligned with the NRC vision. The goal of the workshop was to identify practical and scientific ways to accelerate implementation of the NRC vision. The workshop format consisted of plenary presentations, breakout group discussions, and concluding commentaries. The program faculty was drawn from industry, academia, government, and public interest organizations. Most presentations summarized ongoing efforts to modernize toxicology testing and approaches, each with some overlap with the NRC vision. In light of these efforts, the workshop identified recommendations for accelerating implementation of the NRC vision, including greater strategic coordination and planning across projects (facilitated by a steering group), the development of projects that test the proof of concept for implementation of the NRC vision, and greater outreach and communication across stakeholder communities.
PMCID: PMC3262850  PMID: 21948868
toxicity testing in the 21st century; safety assessment; in vitro alternatives; National Research Council
17.  Continuing Education Course #1: Non-Invasive Imaging as a Problem-Solving Tool and Translational Biomarker Strategy in Toxicologic Pathology 
Toxicologic pathology  2010;39(1):267-272.
The continuing education course “Non-Invasive Imaging as a Problem-Solving Tool and Translational Biomarker Strategy in Toxicologic Pathology” provided a thorough overview of commonly used imaging modalities and the logistics required for integration of small animal imaging into toxicologic pathology. Non-invasive imaging (NIN) is gaining acceptance as an important modality in toxicologic pathology. This technology allows non-terminal, time-course evaluation of functional and morphologic endpoints and can be used to translate biomarkers between preclinical animal models and human patients. Non-invasive imaging can support drug development as well as basic research in academic or industrial environments. An initial overview of theoretical principles was followed by focused presentations on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM), positron emission tomography (PET)/single proton emission computed tomography (SPECT), ultrasonography (US, primarily focused on echocardiography), optical (bioluminescent) imaging, and computed tomography (CT). The choice of imaging modality will depend on the research question and the needed resolution.
PMCID: PMC3519422  PMID: 21147931
Non-invasive imaging; magnetic resonance imaging; computed tomography; ultrasound; positron emission tomography; single proton emission computed tomography; optical imaging
18.  Workgroup Report: Review of Genomics Data Based on Experience with Mock Submissions—View of the CDER Pharmacology Toxicology Nonclinical Pharmacogenomics Subcommittee 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2005;114(4):573-578.
Over the past few years, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the pharmaceutical industry have recognized the potential importance of pharmacogenomics and toxicogenomics to drug development. To resolve the uncertainties surrounding the use of microarray technology and the presentation of genomics data for regulatory purposes, several pharmaceutical companies and genomics technology providers have provided the FDA with reports of genomics studies that included supporting toxicology data (e.g., serum chemistry, histopathology). These studies were not associated with any active drug application and were exploratory or hypothesis generating in nature. For training purposes, these reports were reviewed by the Nonclinical Pharmacogenomics Subcommittee consisting of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research pharmacology and toxicology researchers and reviewers. In this article, we describe some of these submissions and report on our assessment of data content, format, and quality control metrics that were useful for evaluating these nonclinical genomics submissions, specifically in relation to the proposed MIAME/MINTox (minimum information about a microarray experiment/minimum information needed for a toxicology experiment) recommendations. These genomics submissions allowed both researchers and regulators to gain experience in the process of reviewing and analyzing toxicogenomics data. The experience will allow development of recommendations for the submission and review of these data as the state of the science evolves.
PMCID: PMC1440783  PMID: 16581548
data visualization; electronic data files; MIAME/MINTox; mock submission content; quality control metrics; toxicogenomics
19.  Children and toxic substances: confronting a major public health challenge. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  1994;102(Suppl 2):155-156.
Despite early warnings of lead toxicity, until recently this metal was added to a variety of consumer and industrial products. Today, thousands of children in the United States, and probably tens of thousands more worldwide, are suffering the consequences of exposure to lead. The lead story looms as major public policy failure that will eventually cost billions of dollars to remedy. Little is known about the toxicological properties of the more than 70,000 chemicals in commerce. Consequently, it seems likely that other "leads" are finding their way into our food, water, and air. Inadequate testing of chemicals to which the public is exposed presents a serious public health risk, particularly to children whose nervous systems are still developing. The Federal government should expand toxicological testing programs for existing and new chemicals, requiring increased developmental toxicological, particularly neurotoxicological, testing of chemicals to which the public is significantly exposed. In keeping with the concept of full-cost pricing, the costs of these tests should be incurred by the manufacturer, not the government, and should be considered a routine cost of product development.
PMCID: PMC1567092  PMID: 7925186
20.  Nonneoplastic nasal lesions in rats and mice. 
Rodents are commonly used for inhalation toxicology studies, but until recently the nasal passages have often been overlooked or only superficially examined. The rodent nose is a complex organ in which toxicant-induced lesions may vary, depending on the test compound. A working knowledge of rodent nasal anatomy and histology is essential for the proper evaluation of these responses. Lack of a systematic approach for examining rodent nasal tissue has led to a paucity of information regarding nonneoplastic lesions in the rodent nose. Therefore, slides from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology (CIIT) were examined, and the literature was reviewed to assemble the spectrum of nonneoplastic rodent nasal pathology. Presented are lesions associated with the various types of epithelia lining the rodent nasal cavity plus lesions involving accessory nasal structures. Even though there are anatomic and physiologic differences between the rodent and human nose, both rats and mice provide valuable animal models for the study of nasal epithelial toxicity, following administration of chemical compounds.
PMCID: PMC1568333  PMID: 2200665
21.  Report on the Consensus Workshop on Formaldehyde. 
The Consensus Workshop on Formaldehyde consisted of bringing together scientists from academia, government, industry and public interest groups to address some important toxicological questions concerning the health effects of formaldehyde. The participants in the workshop, the Executive Panel which coordinated the meeting, and the questions posed, all were chosen through a broadly based nomination process in order to achieve as comprehensive a consensus as possible. The subcommittees considered the toxicological problems associated with formaldehyde in the areas of exposure, epidemiology, carcinogenicity/histology/genotoxicity, immunology/sensitization/irritation, structure activity/biochemistry/metabolism, reproduction/teratology, behavior/neurotoxicity/psychology and risk estimation. Some questions considered included the possible human carcinogenicity of formaldehyde, as well as other human health effects, and the interpretation of pathology induced by formaldehyde. These reports, plus introductory material on the procedures used in setting up the Consensus Workshop are presented here. Additionally, there is included a listing of the data base that was made available to the panel chairmen prior to the meeting and was readily accessible to the participants during their deliberations in the meeting. This data base, since it was computerized, was also capable of being searched for important terms. These materials were supplemented by information brought by the panelists. The workshop has defined the consensus concerning a number of major points in formaldehyde toxicology and has identified a number of major deficits in understanding which are important guides to future research.
PMCID: PMC1569424  PMID: 6525992
22.  Occupational cancer in France: epidemiology, toxicology, prevention, and compensation. 
Environmental Health Perspectives  1999;107(Suppl 2):245-252.
This article is a description of the current situation in France with regard to occupational cancer: research, prevention, and occupation. Toxicologic experiments are carried out using (italic)in vitro(/italic) and (italic)in vivo(/italic) tests, particularly using transgenic mice. Several epidemiologic studies have been conducted over the last decades: population-based case-control studies; mortality studies and cancer incidence studies carried out in historical cohorts of workers employed in the industry; and case-control studies nested in occupational cohorts. French ethical aspects of toxicologic and epidemiologic studies are described. The results thus obtained are used to establish regulations for the prevention and the compensation of cancers attributable to occupational exposure. This French regulation for prevention of occupational cancer involves several partners: (italic)a(/italic)) the states authorities, including labor inspectors, responsible for preparing and implementing the labor legislation and for supervising its application, particularly in the fields of occupational health and safety and working conditions; (italic)b(/italic)) the Social Security Organisation for the analysis of present or potential occupational risks based on tests, visits in plants, complaints or requests from various sources, and statistics. These activities are performed within the framework of the general French policy for the prevention of occupational cancer. This organization includes the National Institute for Research and Safety, particularly involved in research in the various fields of occupational risks--animal toxicology, biologic monitoring, exposure measurements epidemiology, psychology, ergonomy, electronic systems and machineries, exposure to chemicals, noise, heat, vibration, and lighting; and (italic)c(/italic)) companies where the regulation defines the role of the plant manager, the occupational physician, and the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committee (comprising the manager, employees' representatives, the occupational physician, and the safety department) in dealing with any problem regarding safety, occupational hygiene, and working conditions. These organizations along with medical practitioners are involved with the compensation of occupational cancers. The regulation for compensation includes the tables of occupational cancer, the possibility of recognition of a cancer case when the requirements of the tables are not met, and the postprofessional follow-up of workers exposed to a carcinogenic agent.
PMCID: PMC1566288  PMID: 10350507
23.  Environmental Health and Toxicology Resources of the United States National Library of Medicine 
For over 40 years, the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) has worked to organize and to provide access to an extensive array of environmental health and toxicology resources. During these years, the TEHIP program has evolved from a handful of databases developed primarily for researchers to a broad range of products and services that also serve industry, students, and the general public. TEHIP’s resources include TOXNET® , a collection of databases, including online handbooks, bibliographic references, information on the release of chemicals in the environment, and a chemical dictionary. TEHIP also produces several resources aimed towards the general public, such as the Household Products Database , which helps users explore chemicals often found in common household products, and Tox Town® , an interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances, health, and the environment. This paper introduces some of NLM’s environmental health and toxicology resources.
PMCID: PMC2716653  PMID: 17915629
Toxicology; environment; environmental health; chemicals; databanks; databases; hazardous substances; health; public health; information services; Internet; National Library of Medicine (U.S.); Specialized Information Services; TOXNET; TEHIP
24.  Chiral Drugs: An Overview 
About more than half of the drugs currently in use are chiral compounds and near 90% of the last ones are marketed as racemates consisting of an equimolar mixture of two enantiomers. Although they have the same chemical structure, most isomers of chiral drugs exhibit marked differences in biological activities such as pharmacology, toxicology, pharmacokinetics, metabolism etc. Some mechanisms of these properties are also explained. Therefore, it is important to promote the chiral separation and analysis of racemic drugs in pharmaceutical industry as well as in clinic in order to eliminate the unwanted isomer from the preparation and to find an optimal treatment and a right therapeutic control for the patient. In this article, we review the nomenclature, pharmacology, toxicology, pharmacokinetics, metabolism etc of some usual chiral drugs as well as their mechanisms. Different techniques used for the chiral separation in pharmaceutical industry as well as in clinical analyses are also examined.
PMCID: PMC3614593  PMID: 23674971
analysis; chiral drugs; chiral separation; chiral terms; enantioselective antibodies; metabolism; pharmacokinetics; pharmacology; toxicology
25.  The Good and the Bad of Poisonous Plants: an Introduction to the USDA-ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory 
Journal of Medical Toxicology  2012;8(2):153-159.
This article provides an overview of the Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory (PPRL), about the unique services and activities of the PPRL and the potential assistance that they can provide to plant poisoning incidences. The PPRL is a federal research laboratory. It is part of the Agricultural Research Service, the in-house research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The mission of the PPRL is to identify toxic plants and their toxic compounds, determine how the plants poison animals, and develop diagnostic and prognostic procedures for poisoned animals. Furthermore, the PPRL’s mission is to identify the conditions under which poisoning occurs and develop management strategies and treatments to reduce losses. Information obtained through research efforts at the PPRL is mostly used by the livestock industry, natural resource managers, veterinarians, chemists, plant and animal scientists, extension personnel, and other state and federal agencies. PPRL currently has 9 scientists and 17 support staff, representing various disciplines consisting of toxicology, reproductive toxicology, veterinary medicine, chemistry, animal science, range science, and plant physiology. This team of scientists provides an interdisciplinary approach to applied and basic research to develop solutions to plant intoxications. While the mission of the PPRL primarily impacts the livestock industry, spinoff benefits such as development of animal models, isolation and characterization of novel compounds, elucidation of biological and molecular mechanisms of action, national and international collaborations, and outreach efforts are significant to biomedical researchers. The staff at the PPRL has extensive knowledge regarding a number of poisonous plants. Although the focus of their knowledge is on plants that affect livestock, oftentimes, these plants are also poisonous to humans, and thus, similar principles could apply for cases of human poisonings. Consequently, the information provided herein could be of benefit to healthcare providers for human cases as well.
PMCID: PMC3550245  PMID: 22367563
Poisonous plants; Chemical analysis; Plant toxins; Toxicology; Plant identification

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