Barriers to the use of toxicogenomics data in human health risk assessment: A survey of Canadian risk assessors

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Abstract

Regulatory agencies worldwide need to modernize human health risk assessment (HHRA) to meet challenges of the 21st century. Toxicogenomics is at the core of this improvement. Today, however, the use of toxicogenomics data in HHRA is very limited. The purpose of this survey was to identify barriers to the application of toxicogenomics data in HHRA by human health risk assessors. An online survey targeting Canadian risk assessors gathered information on their knowledge and perception of toxicogenomics, their current and future inclusion of toxicogenomics data in HHRA, and barriers to the use of such data. Twenty-nine (29) participants completed a questionnaire after 2 months of solicitation. The results show that the application of toxicogenomics data in Canada is marginal, with 85% of respondents reporting that they never or rarely used such data. Knowledge of toxicogenomics by Canadian risk assessors is also limited: about two-thirds of respondents (68%) were not at all or only slightly familiar with the concept. Lack of guidelines for toxicogenomics data interpretation, data quality assessment and on their use in HHRA, were found to be major barriers. In conclusion, there is a need for interventions aimed at facilitating the use of toxicogenomics data in HHRA, when available.

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