Toxicology is a scientific discipline involving the study of structure and mechanism related to the toxic effects of natural and chemical agents. Ecotoxicology is concerned with the study of toxic effects on ecosystems. Both disciplines are considered vital elements of the chemical industry’s dedication to safety.
A central concept of toxicology is that effects are dose-dependent. The relationship between the dose needed to produce a toxic effect and the likely level of exposure determines whether there is a significant risk of harm. Scientists in industry and government are concerned to make sure that any exposure to chemicals is below the level which could cause damage to health of humans or wildlife. At the same time, the public benefits from the technologies and products produced by the chemical industry. Better understanding of toxicity, serves to benefit and protect both manufacturers and everyday users of chemicals.
ECETOC members collaborate on strategic initiatives such as scientific workshops or task forces, which typically publish their peer-reviewed end findings. Its initiatives look at the presence of chemicals in humans, in the environment, the effects of the chemicals, scientific methods for measuring the above, and the science of assessing the level of risk.
ECETOC also acts as the scientific representative of the chemical industry towards European agencies and competent authorities and collaborates with ECVAM in order to develop alternatives to animal testing methods which ensure the same level of chemical safety.
It supports the chemical industry’s long-range research initiative with the selection, monitoring and sometimes carrying out of workshops and also organises workshops on behalf of the chemical industry for some societies of toxicology.
ECETOC played an important role in developing the technical guidance for manufacturers and users of chemicals implementing the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation in Europe. With concerns that re-evaluation of many chemicals for REACH compliance would significantly increase animal testing in mind, ECETOC also undertook initiatives to develop guidance on scientific methods to minimise this.
The overall goal of ECETOC and its collaborating scientists is to promote the most scientific approaches to evaluating the safety of chemical products. The intended outcome is a high level of confidence in the safety of chemical products.