ICF’s Bruce Fowler, Bill Mendez, and Russ Savage discuss how computational methods have been applied to address a number of important issues central to improving human health hazard and risk assessment. The paper outlines how to develop a defensible path forward using modern tools of toxicology while addressing several challenges to protect public health.
Advances in knowledge—about the modes of action for chemical toxicity, development of new hazard screening and in vitro testing technologies, and the need for ensuring public health when the number of chemicals in commerce is rapidly increasing—drive the need for advanced computing capacity in the areas of toxicology and risk assessment. Ensuring the nation’s health and safety from exposure to chemicals has never been more complicated. Risk managers, regulators, and other decision makers in agencies charged with this mission face increasingly complex challenges that require the best available science and tools. As a result, rapidly evolving computational toxicology methods are being developed to help protect the public from these hazards in a technically rigorous, cost-effective, and timely manner.
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Senior FellowICF International
Dr. Bruce A. Fowler joined ICF International after a distinguished career in government and academia. He has held the positions of acting scientific director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's Computational Toxicology Laboratory and associate director of science at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine. He also served as adjunct professor at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and president’s rotating professor at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks.
Dr. Fowler has authored more than 200 research papers and book chapters on molecular mechanisms of metal toxicity and biomarkers for early detection of metal-induced cell injury and served as editor/co-editor of five books or monographs on metal toxicology and mechanisms of chemical-induced cell injury. He was voted vice-president elect of the Mixtures Specialty Section (MSS) of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), and he is an officer on the National Capital Area Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (NCAC-SOT) executive board.
The CDC recently nominated Dr. Fowler for the Charles C. Shepard Science Award in recognition of his paper, “SAR/QSAR Methods in Public Health Practice.” The award is presented to the best manuscript on original research published by a CDC or Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) scientist in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal (Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 2011;254(2):192197).
Technical DirectorICF International
Dr. Russell E. Savage, Jr. specializes in environmental health issues. He previously was Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of the Office of Public Health Research, College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University.
He has held positions at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Defense (DoD), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He has a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and a master’s in Technical and Scientific Communication. Dr. Savage is a member of the editorial board for Toxicology Mechanisms and Method and the author of numerous scientific publications.
Senior FellowICF International
Dr. Bill Mendez has more than 30 years’ experience in scientific consulting and project management. He has expertise in toxicology, environmental chemistry, human health risk assessment, statistical analysis, and environmental policy evaluation. He supports the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) and its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. He is participating in a cancer and noncancer risk assessment for inorganic arsenic and in the development of the IRIS Toxicological Review for cadmium.
He was the Lead Scientist on the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards’ (OAQPS’) quantitative risk assessment in support of revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Lead.