Toxicity testing of chemicals in experimental animals to detect potential hazards to human health and the environment has been for decades the cornerstone of national and international programmes on chemical safety. Over the last several years, major advances in the biological and medical sciences have led to the development of new short-term tests for non-genotoxic end-points. Although many of these tests hold great promise for improving the risk assessment process, as well as for decreasing the use of experimental animals in toxicology, the relevance to the intact animal of the scientific data obtained from such short-term tests have yet to be evaluated. The fourth workshop of the Scientific Group on Methodologies for the Safety Evaluation of Chemicals (SGOMSEC) was organized to address such important scientific issues, providing assistance to the scientific community to develop new and improved methods for assessing risks from chemical exposures.
Part 1 Joint report: introduction, general conclusions and recommendations; non-specialized Mammalian cell cultures for toxicity testing; test methods to detect toxic effects in specific Mammalian organs and physiological systems; methods to predict toxicity; short-term tests in ecotoxicology. Part 2 Contributed papers: conceptual approaches to methodology development, Alan M.Goldberg and Andrew N.Rowan; toxicity tests with Mammalian cell cultures, B.Ekwall et al; the gastrointestinal tract and short-term toxicity tests, Donald Barltrop and Martin J.Brueton; specific organ/system toxicity - the liver, James W.Bridges; the developing kidney in toxicity tests, Lauri Saxen; the skin - predictive value of short-term toxicity tests, Raymond R.Suskind; evaluation and prediction of chemical toxicity using haematopoietic cell renewal systems, T.M.Fliedner et al; short-term tests for neurotoxicity, Silvio Garattini; methods for assessing the effects of chemicals on the endocrine system, J.H.Clark and F.X.R.van Leeuwen; methods for assessing the effects of chemicals on the immune system, J.G.Vos and J.H.Dean; potential short-term tests to detect chemicals capable of causing reproductive and developmental dysfunction, Carlton H.Nadolney et al; toxicological versus ecotoxicological testing, Guido Persoone and James Gillett; possibilities and limitations of predictions from short-term tests in the aquatic environment, Guido Persoone et al; possibilities and limitations of short-term tests for ecotoxicologic effects - terrestrial approaches, James W.Gillett; predicting safe levels of chemicals, I.V.Sanockij; computer aided chemical structure-handling techniques in structure-activity relations, Josef Friedrich et al.