It could be argued that the very existence of predictive toxicology testing means it is already ethically sound. After all, this testing area is associated with assessing and reducing the potential risks of chemical compounds entering our environment.
However, the subject is more complex than this. After all, the imperative of predictive psychology lies in its ability to work towards protecting human health as well as the environment. This vast and complex task involves leveraging advanced technologies, such as genomics and computer modelling, to predict how toxic substances could be.
In addition, a considerable move has already been made towards making predictive toxicology even more ethical by reducing animal testing methods. Aligning it with the view that living beings should not be caused harm by technological or chemical development. Additionally, replacement of animal models with human cellular models could provide more accurate predictions of toxicity to man.
Here, we look at what ethical concerns are resolved using predictive toxicology and how these can be improved as we move forward.
Table of Contents
What Is Predictive Toxicology?
Before products are brought to market, especially those that involve medicines and other treatments, they must be thoroughly assessed as to whether they present risks to living organisms. This may include those they are meant to be used by and those whose environmental may be impacted.
Traditionally, this process used to involve costly and time-consuming animal studies. These raised ethical concerns about the use of living beings who could not consent to experimentation upon them. Now, genomics, bioinformatics, in vitro models and computer modelling work together to make these assessments easier, more humane, and more ethical, as well as more efficient and cost-effective.
Protecting Human Health
Protecting human health is one of the most obvious ethical considerations in predictive toxicology. Developers can make therapeutic treatments safer by assessing and minimising the risks to people from chemical exposure. It can also allow regulatory bodies, the public and industries involved to decide how to use and dispose of certain chemicals.
Chemicals that may pose harm to human health include carcinogens, mutagens and other harmful agents. Assessing these before a product makes it to market allows changes to be made before release to ensure that any risks of harm are minimised.
Not only this, but you can also help predict outcomes in those with genetic conditions, allowing people to tailor their use of such chemicals according to their own vulnerabilities. Effectively, this makes using chemicals much safer for many people.
Environmental Ethical Concerns
The chemicals we produce mustn’t wreak havoc on an already-suffering environment and human health. Release of chemicals that could cause harm to living organisms, deplete plant and animal life, and even cause problems with the soil we grow food in, and the rivers we fish from is to be avoided at all costs.
Assessing chemicals at the molecular level, including gaining insight into how they interact with living organisms, allows us to develop environmentally sustainable practices. This and other environmental measures, such as reducing environmental footprints and developing eco-friendly manufacturing processes, can do much to lessen any detrimental impact of new developments.
Reducing Reliance on Animal Testing
Along with this is the reduction mentioned above of our reliance on animal testing. Ethical issues have always been debated in this area, and there is a considerable move towards effective research that does not use animal testing to predict harm. New pPredictive toxicology approaches offers a more humane alternative to such issues.
To sum up, as we move forward and develop ever more innovative chemicals, there will remain a significant lean towards more ethical practices, and it is difficult to see any lessening in the importance of predictive toxicology.