Recent studies are raising serious questions among toxicology researchers about the validity of cancer risk assessment methods as practiced today. Based on these findings, a growing number of scientists are calling for a thorough reevaluation of the criteria used to identify human carcinogens.

"Twenty years ago, the assumptions that were made were appropriate, and the decisions made on those bases were appropriate because that's what we knew," says Samuel Cohen, a pathologist at the Epply Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Nebraska. "I think now that we've seen that there are examples that point a different way, that those have to be incorporated into the way we evaluate risk."

But while many of the thousands of toxicologists, cell biologists, biochemists, and cancer researchers are struggling to establish a new paradigm for determining chemical risk, environmentalists are fighting to maintain the status quo.

Being called into question are the...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?