Genotoxicity Risk Assessment: A Proposed Classification Strategy
Recent advances in genetic toxicity (mutagenicity) testing methods and in approaches to performing risk assessment are prompting a renewed effort to harmonize genotoxicity risk assessment across the world. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first published Guidelines for Mutagenicity Risk Assessment in 1986 that focused mainly on transmissible germ cell genetic risk. Somatic cell genetic risk has also been a risk consideration, usually in support of carcinogenicity assessments. EPA and other international regulatory bodies have published mutagenicity testing requirements for agents (pesticides, pharmaceuticals, etc.) to generate data for use in genotoxicity risk assessments. The scheme that follows provides a proposed harmonization approach in which genotoxicity assessments are fully developed within the risk assessment paradigm used by EPA, and sets out a process that integrates newer thinking in testing battery design with the risk assessment process. A classification strategy for agents based on inherent genotoxicity, dose-responses observed in the data, and an exposure analysis is proposed. The classification leads to an initial level of concern for genotoxic risk to humans. A total risk characterization is performed using all relevant toxicity data and a comprehensive exposure evaluation in association with the genotoxicity data. The result of this characterization is ultimately used to generate a final level of concern for genotoxic risk to humans. The final level of concern and characterized genotoxicity risk assessment are communicated to decision makers for possible regulatory action(s) and to the public.