Journal Issue:
Dose-Response: An International Journal: Volume 11, Issue 2

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2013-30-06
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Dose-Response Vol 11, no 2, Cover
(2013-06-01)
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EXTREME SENSITIVITY AND THE PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF RISK ASSESSMENT THRESHOLDS
(2013-06-01) Bukowski, John; Nicolich, Mark; Lewis, R. Jeffrey
Traditional risk-assessment theory assumes the existence of a threshold for non-cancer health effects. However, a recent trend in environmental regulation rejects this assumption in favor of non-threshold linearity for these endpoints. This trend is driven largely by two related concepts: (1) a theoretical assumption of wide-ranging human sensitivity, and (2) inability to detect thresholds in epidemiologic models. Wide-ranging sensitivity assumes a subpopulation with extreme background vulnerability, so that even trivial environmental exposures are hazardous to someone somewhere. We use examples from the real world of clinical medicine to show that this theoretical assumption is inconsistent with the biology of mammalian systems and the realities of patient care. Using examples from particulate-matter air-pollution research, we further show that failure to reject linearity is usually driven by statistical rather than biological considerations, and that nonlinear/threshold models often have a similar or better fit than their linear counterparts. This evidence suggests the existence of practical, real-world thresholds for most chemical exposures.
Publication
INSECTS, INSECTICIDES AND HORMESIS: EVIDENCE AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR STUDY
(2013-06-01) Cutler, G. Christopher
Insects are ubiquitous, crucial components of almost all terrestrial and fresh water ecosystems. In agricultural settings they are subjected to, intentionally or unintentionally, an array of synthetic pesticides and other chemical stressors. These ecological underpinnings, the amenability of insects to laboratory and field experiments, and our strong knowledgebase in insecticide toxicology, make the insect-insecticide model an excellent one to study many questions surrounding hormesis. Moreover, there is practical importance for agriculture with evidence of pest population growth being accelerated by insecticide hormesis. Nevertheless, insects have been underutilized in studies of hormesis. Where hormesis hypotheses have been tested, results clearly demonstrate stimulatory effects on multiple taxa as measured through several biological endpoints, both at individual and population levels. However, many basic questions are outstanding given the myriad of chemicals, responses, and ecological interactions that are likely to occur.
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