Hormesis: from marginalization to mainstream: A case for hormesis as the default dose-response model in risk assessment

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Abstract

The paper provides an account of how the hormetic dose response has emerged in recent years as a serious dose-response model in toxicology and risk assessment after decades of extreme marginalization. In addition to providing the toxicological basis of this dose-response revival, the paper reexamines the concept of a default dose model in toxicology and risk assessment and makes the argument that the hormetic model satisfies criteria (e.g., generalizability, frequency, application to risk assessment endpoints, false positive/negative potential, requirements for hazard assessment, reliability of estimating risks, capacity for validation of risk estimates, public health implications of risk estimates) for such a default model better than its chief competitors, the threshold and linear at low dose models. The selection of the hormetic model as the default model in risk assessment for noncarcinogens and specifically for carcinogens would have a profound impact on the practice of risk assessment and its societal implications.

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