Guidelines for performing systematic reviews in the development of toxicity factors

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Abstract

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) developed guidance on conducting systematic reviews during the development of chemical-specific toxicity factors. Using elements from publicly available frameworks, the TCEQ systematic review process was developed in order to supplement the existing TCEQ Guidelines for developing toxicity factors (TCEQ Regulatory Guidance 442). The TCEQ systematic review process includes six steps: 1) Problem Formulation; 2) Systematic Literature Review and Study Selection; 3) Data Extraction; 4) Study Quality and Risk of Bias Assessment; 5) Evidence Integration and Endpoint Determination; and 6) Confidence Rating. This document provides guidance on conducting a systematic literature review and integrating evidence from different data streams when developing chemical-specific reference values (ReVs) and unit risk factors (URFs). However, this process can also be modified or expanded to address other questions that would benefit from systematic review practices. The systematic review and evidence integration framework can improve regulatory decision-making processes, increase transparency, minimize bias, improve consistency between different risk assessments, and further improve confidence in toxicity factor development.

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