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Implementing systematic review techniques in chemical risk assessment: Challenges, opportunities and recommendations

Implementing systematic review techniques in chemical risk assessment: Challenges, opportunities and recommendations
Implementing systematic review techniques in chemical risk assessment: Challenges, opportunities and recommendations
Systematic review (SR) is a rigorous, protocol-driven approach designed to minimise error and bias when summarising the body of research evidence relevant to a specific scientific question. Taking as a comparator the use of SR in synthesising research in healthcare, we argue that SR methods could also pave the way for a “step change” in the transparency, objectivity and communication of chemical risk assessments (CRA) in Europe and elsewhere. We suggest that current controversies around the safety of certain chemicals are partly due to limitations in current CRA procedures which have contributed to ambiguity about the health risks posed by these substances. We present an overview of how SR methods can be applied to the assessment of risks from chemicals, and indicate how challenges in adapting SR methods from healthcare research to the CRA context might be overcome. Regarding the latter, we report the outcomes from a workshop exploring how to increase uptake of SR methods, attended by experts representing a wide range of fields related to chemical toxicology, risk analysis and SR. Priorities which were identified include: the conduct of CRA-focused prototype SRs; the development of a recognised standard of reporting and conduct for SRs in toxicology and CRA; and establishing a network to facilitate research, communication and training in SR methods. We see this paper as a milestone in the creation of a research climate that fosters communication between experts in CRA and SR and facilitates wider uptake of SR methods into CRA.
risk assessment, research synthesis, environment, chemicals, systematic review, toxicology
0160-4120
1-9
Whaley, P.
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Halsall, C.
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Agerstrand, M.
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Aiassa, E.
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Benford, D.
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Bilotta, G.
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Coggon, D.
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Collins, C.
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Dempsey, C.
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Durate-Davidson, R.
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Fitzgerald, R.
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Galay-Burgos, M.
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Gee, D.
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Hoffmann, S.
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Lam, J.
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Lasserson, T.
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Levy, L.
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Lipworth, S.
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Ross, S.M.
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Martin, O.
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Meads, C.
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Meyer-Baron, M.
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Miller, J.
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Pease, C.
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Rooney, A.
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Sapiets, A.
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Stewart, G.
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Taylor, D.
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Whaley, P.
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Halsall, C.
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Agerstrand, M.
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Aiassa, E.
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Benford, D.
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Bilotta, G.
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Coggon, D.
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Collins, C.
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Dempsey, C.
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Durate-Davidson, R.
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Fitzgerald, R.
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Galay-Burgos, M.
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Gee, D.
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Hoffmann, S.
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Lam, J.
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Lasserson, T.
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Levy, L.
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Lipworth, S.
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Ross, S.M.
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Martin, O.
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Meads, C.
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Meyer-Baron, M.
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Miller, J.
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Pease, C.
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Rooney, A.
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Sapiets, A.
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Stewart, G.
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Taylor, D.
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Whaley, P., Halsall, C., Agerstrand, M., Aiassa, E., Benford, D., Bilotta, G., Coggon, D., Collins, C., Dempsey, C., Durate-Davidson, R., Fitzgerald, R., Galay-Burgos, M., Gee, D., Hoffmann, S., Lam, J., Lasserson, T., Levy, L., Lipworth, S., Ross, S.M., Martin, O., Meads, C., Meyer-Baron, M., Miller, J., Pease, C., Rooney, A., Sapiets, A., Stewart, G. and Taylor, D. (2015) Implementing systematic review techniques in chemical risk assessment: Challenges, opportunities and recommendations. Environment International, 1-9. (doi:10.1016/j.envint.2015.11.002). (PMID:26687863)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Systematic review (SR) is a rigorous, protocol-driven approach designed to minimise error and bias when summarising the body of research evidence relevant to a specific scientific question. Taking as a comparator the use of SR in synthesising research in healthcare, we argue that SR methods could also pave the way for a “step change” in the transparency, objectivity and communication of chemical risk assessments (CRA) in Europe and elsewhere. We suggest that current controversies around the safety of certain chemicals are partly due to limitations in current CRA procedures which have contributed to ambiguity about the health risks posed by these substances. We present an overview of how SR methods can be applied to the assessment of risks from chemicals, and indicate how challenges in adapting SR methods from healthcare research to the CRA context might be overcome. Regarding the latter, we report the outcomes from a workshop exploring how to increase uptake of SR methods, attended by experts representing a wide range of fields related to chemical toxicology, risk analysis and SR. Priorities which were identified include: the conduct of CRA-focused prototype SRs; the development of a recognised standard of reporting and conduct for SRs in toxicology and CRA; and establishing a network to facilitate research, communication and training in SR methods. We see this paper as a milestone in the creation of a research climate that fosters communication between experts in CRA and SR and facilitates wider uptake of SR methods into CRA.

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1-s2.0-S0160412015300866-main.pdf__tid=71114efc-bec8-11e5-808b-00000aacb35f&acdnat=1453220560_d300817fb815bb17f592814b09860b37 - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 2 November 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 December 2015
Keywords: risk assessment, research synthesis, environment, chemicals, systematic review, toxicology
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 385514
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/385514
ISSN: 0160-4120
PURE UUID: ccdcd425-97d5-4cb1-8871-bf53eadde1c0

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Date deposited: 19 Jan 2016 16:22
Last modified: 16 Dec 2019 20:09

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Contributors

Author: P. Whaley
Author: C. Halsall
Author: M. Agerstrand
Author: E. Aiassa
Author: D. Benford
Author: G. Bilotta
Author: D. Coggon
Author: C. Collins
Author: C. Dempsey
Author: R. Durate-Davidson
Author: R. Fitzgerald
Author: M. Galay-Burgos
Author: D. Gee
Author: S. Hoffmann
Author: J. Lam
Author: T. Lasserson
Author: L. Levy
Author: S. Lipworth
Author: S.M. Ross
Author: O. Martin
Author: C. Meads
Author: M. Meyer-Baron
Author: J. Miller
Author: C. Pease
Author: A. Rooney
Author: A. Sapiets
Author: G. Stewart
Author: D. Taylor

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