Reﬂections on chemical risk assessment or how (not) to serve society
Jaap C. Hanekamp
⁎,Edward J. Calabrese
Science Department, University College Roosevelt, Middelburg, the Netherlands
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Morrill I, N344, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
•The demand for toxicological risk as-
sessments is ever-increasing.
•The chemical risk assessment paradigm
needs to overcome the natural-synthetic
•Hazard analyses of carcinogens needs to
be replaced by full-on risk assessments.
•The available toxicological models are too
simplistic in their linearity.
Received 20 April 2021
Received in revised form 11 June 2021
Accepted 13 June 2021
Available online xxxx
Editor: Michael N Moore
In this paper, we want to shed light on the demand for chemicaland toxicological data growing ever more faster
than science can supply and other aspects of assessing chemical risks, including the demand for ‘ever greater
safety’. The treatise that follows is on the one hand rooted in well-established toxicological theory and on the
other hand utilises emerging toxicological insights. Both theoretical conceptions and empirical substantiations
are discussed to build up a perspective that produces an outlook on innovation and proliferates insights into
our inexorable and invaluable exposure to ‘the chemical’. We propose that in toxicology, with the implicit man-
datory linear routine of dose-response, there is no tangible scientiﬁc drive to understand and unearththe actual
empiricaldose-responsecurve for chemicals underscrutiny. This can and should be improvedupon as to advance
the science of toxicology and to optimise current and future regulatory efforts.
1. Bridging the natural-synthetic rift–a prolegomenon
In the 1970s, a Dutch science showcalled “Chemistry is Everywhere”
tried to convey the message that, indeed, chemistry is all around us. It
was a brave attempt to introduce the general public to the ﬁeld of chem-
istry, which is far less removed from our daily lives than most people
thought back then and still think today. More precisely, we are, to
some extent, part of that same chemistry we study at the same time.
And that brings with it an enigma of substantial proportions.
That enigma, perhaps the word puzzle is more apt, has to do with the
ostensibly unequivocal rift between the so-called the synthetic and the
natural. The latter, ‘natural chemistry’such as DNA, proteins, glucose,
Science of the Total Environment 792 (2021) 148511
⁎Corresponding author at: Department ofEnvironmentalHealth Sciences,University of
Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.
E-mail address: email@example.com (J.C. Hanekamp).
0048-9697/© 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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