Trends in ecological science – is there a paradigm shift?


  • Abstracts of papers that were published in the IFSCC magazine, Volume 9, No 2, 2006


The cosmetic industry takes full responsibility for the safety of its products. The common understanding of this responsibility has been moving lately from the basic concept of ensuring consumer protection to a wider perspective also encompassing the protection of indirectly exposed targets. Hence, a newly defined responsibility also accounts for exposure to chemicals that possibly spread globally having an impact at any remote spot in the world. Such responsibility safeguards future human generations as well as other living organisms, both wildlife and experimental animals. In pursuit of taking this responsibility seriously, the scientific and regulatory community has to accept new challenges. This compels us to question paradigms that were once considered indisputable. It may even be necessary to change them. The basic Paracelsus imperative of ecological and toxicological science, the dose, is such a paradigm, which is increasingly called into question. The substantial erosion of the dose paradigm is illustrated by the example of persistence and bio-accumulation. Likewise, in the search for in vitro alternatives to animal tests, possible future breakthroughs will be linked to challenging the dose paradigm.

Paper presented as a keynote lecture at the IFSCC International Conference 2005, Florence, Italy