ACC senior director of science and research addresses questions raised by the Halifax Project

For centuries, the scientific method has made possible tremendous advances in science. It’s played an instrumental role in giving us just about everything we know today about how chemicals interact with the human body and the environment.

One toxicological principle to emerge from the scientific method centuries ago, and which continues to stand the test of time, is Paracelsus’ observation that “the dose makes the poison.” You may have heard these words a thousand times. They’ve been proven true a thousand times over. At high enough doses, chemical compounds – even the ones as essential to life as water and oxygen – can become harmful.

The number one priority of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and our members is continuing to advance the science to ensure human health and the environment are protected from potentially harmful doses and exposures to chemicals. Thanks to programs like ACC’s Long Range Research Initiative (LRI), we know more today about chemical exposure and the potential links between chemical exposures, including mixtures, and adverse health effects like cancer.

That’s why we’re following with interest the work of the Halifax Project, which is focused on reviewing studies regarding combinations of low levels of chemical exposure and cancer risks. So far, the collaborators have raised questions that can help generate hypotheses, but to date, no proof of cause and effect has been presented.

Looking at the Halifax Project through the lens of the scientific method, ACC senior director of science and research Rick Becker says the Project is “contributing to the initial stage of scientific inquiry.”

As Dr. Becker recently wrote in a Science 2.0 blog post:

Research in the molecular pathways of cancer is quite active and we are optimistic that continued strong research programs will provide greater scientific knowledge showing how the well accepted toxicological principle that the dose makes the poison operates in the integrated biological pathways that characterize the hallmarks of cancer.

To read the full Science 2.0 post, click here.

To learn more about the Long Range Research Institute’s work to advance the research in chemical safety assessment, click here.

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