The European Food safety Authority (EFSA) is inviting international experts to assemble at its Italian headquarters next month to debate the issue of low dose response toxicology from substances such as bisphenol A (BPA), dioxins and polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs).
In recent years, the low dose hypothesis has increasingly challenged the accepted the dose-response model – which is based on the notion that the nature of the response to a substance – or the risk from it - increases in proportion to dose.
Low dose effects turn this scientific cornerstone on its head and maintain that the effect of some hormonally active agents is not linked to dose.
This school of thought, if proved, “would in turn challenge the key assumption of a threshold which is implicit in the current risk assessment process for most chemicals”, said EFSA.
For example, many recent scientific studies into the potential hazards from BPA that have been dismissed because the dose was thought to be too small to present a risk may have to be re-examined if the low dose model was established as valid.
The food safety watchdog said the Colloquium would offer a unique opportunity for an open scientific debate on the most recent scientific evidence of low dose response in toxicology, and current and future challenges for food and feed risk assessment Europe.
The event, which will be held in Parma on 14 and 15 June, will see around 100 scientific experts gather to consider low dose toxicology. Registration for the event is now closed, said the agency.
EFSA said the emphasis will be on discussion in small groups rather than a series of lectures – although the opening session will be made up of keynote speeches. The groups will focus on four topics:Nature of an effect: adverse or non-adverse?; Dose response relationships; Low dose effects: do they exist?; Impact for risk assessment
The event is not obliged to come to a conse.nsus but conclusions and possibly recommendations will be presented at a final session. General conclusions will be published in a post-event report.
Click HERE to access the draft programme.