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Keywords:

  • Interspecies scaling factors;
  • pharmacokinetics;
  • tissue dosimetry;
  • tissue sensitivity;
  • default procedures;
  • pharmacodynamics

Interspecies scaling factors (ISFs) are numbers used to adjust the potency factor (for example, the q1* for carcinogens or reference doses for compounds eliciting other toxic endpoints) determined in experimental animals to account for expected differences in potency between test animals and people. ISFs have been developed for both cancer and non-cancer risk assessments in response to a common issue: toxicologists often determine adverse effects of chemicals in test animals and then they, or more commonly risk assessors and risk managers, have to draw inferences about what these observations mean for the human population. This perspective briefly reviews the development of ISFs and their applications in health risk assessments over the past 20 years, examining the impact of pharmacokinetic principles in altering current perceptions of the ISFs applied in these health risk assessments, and assessing future directions in applying both pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles for developing ISFs.