Chemical-induced asthma and the role of clinical, toxicological, exposure and epidemiological research in regulatory and hazard characterization approaches
Uncertainties in understanding all potential modes-of-action for asthma induction and elicitation hinders design of hazard characterization and risk assessment methods that adequately screen and protect against hazardous chemical exposures. To address this challenge and identify current research needs, the University of Cincinnati and the American Cleaning Institute hosted a webinar series to discuss the current state-of-science regarding chemical-induced asthma. The general consensus is that the available database, comprised of data collected from routine clinical and validated toxicological tests, is inadequate for predicting or determining causal relationships between exposures and asthma induction for most allergens. More research is needed to understand the mechanism of asthma induction and elicitation in the context of specific chemical exposures and exposure patterns, and the impact of population variability and patient phenotypes. Validated tools to predict respiratory sensitization and to translate irritancy assays to asthma potency are needed, in addition to diagnostic biomarkers that assess and differentiate allergy versus irritant-based asthmatic responses. Diagnostic methods that encompass the diverse etiologies of asthmatic responses and incorporate robust exposure measurements capable of capturing different temporal patterns of complex chemical mixtures are needed. In the absence of ideal tools, risk assessors apply hazard-based safety assessment methods, in conjunction with active risk management, to limit potential asthma concerns, proactively identify new concerns, and ensure deployment of approaches to mitigate asthma-related risks.