EPA’s Science Advisory Board met on March 7-8, 2013, to review several issues including EPA “Risk Assessments—Use of Computational Toxicology.” EPA hopes to use CompTox in several contexts, including the Agency’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. Given its proposed EDSP use, and the EPA Science Advisory Panel’s continuing review of CompTox, SAB Member Dr. Elaine Faustman pointed out that “[t]he review highlights in several contexts the significance of the early use of the CompTox data for screening dispersants in the Gulf however it is silent of the very large exercise of screening for endocrine disruption that is occurring as a part of the EPA endocrine screening program. Shouldn’t the review applaud EPA’s approach to emphasize the importance of such evaluations of Comp Tox results for current EPA needs?”

Another SAB member Dr. Michael Dourson commented that confidence in vitro methods like CompTox is “likely to be low for a very long time”:

“The committee has done a good job in answering these questions and is overall encouraging EPA to continue its work. The committee also does a nice job at laying out the numerous problems associated with this kind of activity. In fact, the problems, taken together, can generate a sense of hopelessness, at least from a toxicology-risk assessor’s point of view. This is because the disparities between in vitro and in vivo systems are so vast that confidence in the prediction of “safe” dose (or any other dose response assessment activity) from in vitro findings is low now, and likely to be low for a very long time.”

The SAB’s written comments are available by clicking here.