Syngenta scientist outlines new risk-assessment approach

-- Timothy Pastoor, Ph.D., DABT, shares insights from RISK21 Framework

-- Presentation part of the Society of Toxicology's "Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology" series

Nov 12, 2012, 08:00 ET from Syngenta

GREENSBORO, N.C., Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Speaking to scientists at the Society of Toxicology (SOT) FutureTox Meeting Oct. 18 in Washington, D.C., Syngenta Principal Scientist Timothy Pastoor, Ph.D., DABT, outlined a new approach to human-health risk assessment being developed by representatives of government, industry, academia and nongovernmental organizations.

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During the meeting, scientists discussed new, emerging technologies and approaches for determining human safety. Two National Academies of Sciences reports have called for developing better methods of toxicity testing and human-health risk assessment, using fewer animals.

Pastoor offered insights on RISK21, a systematic and transparent risk-assessment model that considers both possible exposure and potential toxicity.  These approaches would reduce the need for animals in toxicity testing. The RISK21 project is coordinated by the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), a nonprofit institution whose mission is to engage scientists from academia, government and industry to identify and resolve global health and environmental issues.

"As toxicologists, we can do a better job using available data and new technologies to identify human health hazards," said Pastoor, co-chair of the RISK21 project. "We have the technology to make more accurate risk assessments that use fewer resources – including animals – and take into account both toxicity and exposure. We just need to use it," he added.

"The most valuable, accurate risk assessments reflect not only potential toxicity but also how much exposure we have to a particular substance," Pastoor said. "It's this part of the risk assessment that helps us determine how much of a substance is too much. One of the challenges of having sophisticated scientific instruments that can detect minute amounts of a compound is that people can lose perspective about what amount of a substance is harmless. Just because something can be measured does not mean it has an effect on humans. That needs to be part of the risk assessment equation."

Pastoor's presentation was part of the SOT's "Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology" series. These discussions promote a productive exchange of ideas concerning effective and efficient implementation of the latest toxicity testing technologies to improve hazard prediction and risk assessment. This FutureTox meeting was sponsored and partially funded by SOT, and underwritten by HESI, the American Chemistry Council, the Human Toxicology Project Consortium and the Food and Drug Administration.

Pastoor has more than 30 years of international experience in fundamental toxicity testing, mode-of-action research and human-health risk assessment. He is a member of the Society of Toxicology and a board member of both the Toxicology Forum and HESI.

Pastoor often serves as a science expert and lecturer on toxicology and risk assessment for Syngenta. He previously served as the company's head of Human Safety, managing a team of toxicologists and risk-assessment experts who use safety, health and environmental studies to ensure product safety.

Pastoor earned his doctorate in toxicology from the University of Michigan and is certified by the American Board of Toxicology (DABT).

About the Society of Toxicology
The Society of Toxicology (SOT) is a professional and scholarly organization of scientists from academic institutions, government and industry, representing the great variety of scientists who practice toxicology in the U.S. and abroad. SOT is committed to creating a safer and healthier world by advancing the science of toxicology. The Society promotes the acquisition and utilization of knowledge in toxicology, aids in the protection of public health, and facilitates disciplines. The Society has a strong commitment to education in toxicology and to the recruitment of students and new members into the profession.

About HESI
The Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) was established in 1989 as a global branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) to provide an international forum to advance the understanding of scientific issues related to human health, toxicology, risk assessment, and the environment. In 2002, HESI was recognized by the United States government as a publicly supported, tax-exempt organization, independently chartered from ILSI. HESI draws its sponsorship from business entities that are producers of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agricultural, and other industrial chemicals, paper products, personal care and household products, food and beverages, communications products, transportation products, or energy products, or of ingredients or containers used in, or in connection with these products. Providers of scientific and technical services used in the safety testing or production of these products or in the assessment of the human health and environmental safety of these products are also sponsors. HESI has sponsorship from companies based in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

About Syngenta
Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 26,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers, we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life.  For more information about us, please go to

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