June 2010 E-Newsletter


Member news…


Editor’s Note

ACTRA welcomes comments on any aspect of the e-newsletter. Please feel free to share suggestions or news, write letters to the editor or comment on articles presented. Your feedback is important to us!


Positions Vacant – Feel free to advertise positions in this newsletter. The dates for publication follow.


This is your newsletter!!

Please send contributions and Calendar notices to the Secretariat

secretariat@actra.org.au or editors Mirella.Goetzmann@health.wa.gov.au or JohnFrangos@toxikos.com



Submission deadlines
Issue 2: 1st July


Submission rules

Publication of any material submitted to the ACTRA Newsletter will be the sole discretion of ACTRA. ACTRA reserves the right to make amendments to the submission prior to publication, or to refuse publication.


President’s Report


Welcome to the first ACTRA newsletter for 2010, including details of some forthcoming events that you should note in your diaries.


New Secretariat


After some four years providing excellent service to ACTRA as its Secretariat, Meetings First informed us that it was downsizing its business, and that ACTRA would need to seek an alternative service provider. I would like to place on record, an appreciation of the assistance Jennifer Seabrook and her staff (especially Athina Patti) gave during the formative years of ACTRA and for the highly professional support provided to ACTRA members and the ACTRA Management Committee. We wish them both well in their new endeavours.


After considering proposals from a number of organizations providing professional Secretariat services, the ACTRA Management Committee appointed Elisabethe Dank (operating as d’Moda) to take over the ACTRA Secretariat from 1 April 2010. Elisabethe and Jennifer effected a smooth transition during March-April and the ACTRA Secretariat is now fully functional under Elisabethe’s guidance. Elisabethe brings a special link to an organization with which ACTRA shares some common interests (she also provides Secretariat services to the Australasian Land & Groundwater Association, ALGA) and we look forward to working with her as she helps ACTRA expand its activities.


AGM and Annual Scientific Meeting (26-27 August 2010)


The ACTRA AGM will once again be held in conjunction with the Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), this year in Sydney. Mark the dates in your diaries. Jackie Wright is charged with the responsibility of preparing a stimulating scientific program to support that part of the program where ACTRA members (as well as non-members) are encouraged to submit abstracts presenting their own research and experience in the form of brief presentations. In anticipation that the 2010 ASM will surpass the highly successful 2009 ASM in Canberra in terms of the invited speakers and scientific program, the ASM has been extended to a second day to afford members a greater opportunity present their work and network with colleagues.

The AGM also plays an important part in maintaining the formal functions of ACTRA as an organization, and it is vital that there is a strong attendance from members to assist in planning future activities. Formal papers for the AGM will be circulated shortly by the ACTRA Secretariat. Members are once again urged to consider nominating for one of the positions on the Management Committee, for which there will be a formal election process.


Workshop on Carcinogenic Risk Assessment (28 May 2010)


ACTRA held one of its most successful workshops when it addressed some current aspects of carcinogenic risk assessment at a well-attended Sydney venue on 28 May. There were nine invited speakers, addressing topics that ranged from updates in quantitative risk assessment methodology, to classification of carcinogens and assessment of cancer clusters. We are once again indebted to out keynote speaker, Dr Christopher Portier, for providing an overview of US approaches to carcinogenic risk assessment, and for painting a vivid picture of future trends towards using molecular biology and high-throughput in vitro and in silico screening techniques to enhance understanding of how interactions between biology and the environment impact on human disease burdens. It is slightly disappointing that, out of an overall attendance of 80 registrants, only a quarter were current ACTRA members. The workshop covered a broad range of topics and while it was compressed into a single day and therefore limited to some extent the opportunities for interactive participation, the open discussion sessions were vigorous, and the feedback indicated overall satisfaction from those who attended. The ACTRA Management Committee will be addressing ways in which the presentations made at the Workshop could be made available to those members who were unable to attend.

ACTRA’s role in supporting government regulation


In recognition that the ACTRA membership includes a high proportion of Australasia’s best qualified toxicologists and risk assessment professionals, ACTRA’s assistance is being increasingly sought by government agencies seeking expressions of interest to serve on expert panels and committees, or to tender for specific projects. Where possible, these and other activities will be brought to the attention of ACTRA members through this Newsletter, or by circulation of e-mailed advice.


I draw your attention to four such notices in this Newsletter, and urge you to consider putting forward you expressions of interest.



Brian Priestly



Expressions of interest – TGA advisory panels

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has written to ACTRA seeking the support of its members to submit Expressions of Interest (EoI) to serve on some new Advisory Committees.


The particular panel that was the subject of the TGA correspondence is the Advisory Committee on Non-prescription medicines (ACNM). This committee provides advice to the TGA Delegates on the regulation of non-prescription medicines and, under new legislative changes promulgated in amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990, the ACNM replaces the former Medicines Evaluation Committee (MEC). The Expressions of Interest in joining ACNM were publicised in the Weekend Australian newspaper and further information is available on the TGA website (http://www.tga.gov.au/new/new.htm).


The ACTRA Committee is also aware that other calls for EoI to provide services for the TGA have also been published recently in the Weekend Australian and on the TGA website. These include:


·       EoI to nominate for two new committees to assist the process of scheduling medicines and chemicals in the Standard for the Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP). The Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) and the Advisory Committee on Chemicals Scheduling (ACCS) will replace the National Drugs & Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) from 1 July 2010, as part of a regulatory reform process

(see http://www.tga.gov.au/regreform/index.htm - new).

The closing date for this EoI is 18 June 2010.

·       Tender for appointment to the TGA’s Therapeutic Products Assessment Panel, for the provision of assessment and advisory services through a Deed of Standing Offer. This process provides TGA access to experienced evaluators who can supplement in-house TGA expertise in assessing applications to register new medicines on the Australian market. Details of the application process can be found on the Austender website (http://www.tenders.gov.au) under RFT 14/0910. The closing date for this Tender is 16 July 2010.



Proposed Trichloroethene Inhalation Reference Concentration Peer review for SA Health

The South Australian Department of Health – Public Health Directorate (SA Health) is seeking tenders to undertake a peer review of a document proposing a chronic inhalation reference concentration for trichloroethene. Any ACTRA member wishing to tender for this work should directly contact: Dr Ian Delaere, Senior Scientific Officer - Toxicology; Public Health, SA Health, Government of South Australia; Tel 08 8226 7665, Fax 08 8226 7102, Email ian.delaere@health.sa.gov.au



ACTRA Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM): Call for Papers + open for registration

When:                               26th & 27th August 2010, 8.30am – 5.00pm (times to be confirmed)


Where:                              In Sydney; venue to be confirmed


Cost to register:                TBC


Call for abstracts:              Don’t miss the deadline to submit an abstract for oral papers

Midnight Thursday, 1st July 2010.http://www.actra.org.au/images/Call%20for%20papers%202010.pdf


Refer to President’s report for more information


Environmental Health Risk Assessment EHRA 2010

Late news: course cancelled due to insufficient registrants.


Entox are hosting a Short Course on Environmental Health Risk Assessment on the 12th to the 16th of July 2010 at the Smart Water Research Centre, Southport, Qld

For further information refer to the following URL: http://www.entox.uq.edu.au/ehra-short-course


ACTRA ASM (2009) Summary of Presentations

About 50 ACTRA members attended the Annual Scientific Meeting and heard presentations by 15 scientists from the regulatory, research and consultant sectors.

The guest speaker, Dr Chris Portier, Associate Director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIEHS) provided an interesting overview of epigenetic mechanisms underlying the developmental basis for disease. “Epigenetics” refers to the branch of biology which studies the causal interactions between genes and their products, which result in a specific phenotype being expressed (i.e. characteristic). This also includes disease states such as cancer with a theory that methylation of certain base pairs throughout life and their subsequent inactivation was a control pathway for expression of those characteristics. The understanding of this pathway of control could be implicit in the development of more fundamental controls through understanding of chemical-environment-gene interaction.


Other speakers included:

·         Dr Loschke, APVMA – spray drift modelling approaches by APVMA – could be useful for exposure assessment in consultant work of this nature.

·         Dr Aleks Todoroski, PAE Holmes – air dispersion modelling overview – highlighted the uncertainty even of non-steady state (e.g. CalPuff) approaches. A lengthy quality presentation.

·         Prof Beate Escher, ENTOX provided some information on bioanalytical tools for water quality assessment. The application of these in RA is still problematic but does provide before and after water treatment evaluation.

·         Prof Des Connell discussed the assessment of health risk to humans and dolphins from sediments in Hong Kong – a novel approach.

·         Dr Albert Juhasz CERAR/CRC CARE gave two presentations on contaminant bioavailability and uptake and the in vitro vs in vivo comparisons – a few issues here in relation to the validation of in vitro test strategies – this was also raised at SETAC last year where Dutch researchers presented a confounding variable – gastrointestinal microflora and As reabsorption.

·         Jackie Wright, ERS gave an overview of issues associated with risk assessment of housing contaminated by illicit drug activity – a growth area for RA.

·         Dr Roger Drew, Toxikos gave an interesting presentation on the Concentration of No Toxicological Concern (CONTC) for air toxics – from earlier work he presented in 2006 – useful for air quality risk assessments. He also presented on nanoparticle toxicity research and the problems with some papers – always understand the underlying principles in toxicity testing.

·         Prof Brian Priestly, ACTRA briefly discussed the new enHealth RA monograph and associated Exposure Factors Handbook to be available in the near future for comment.

·         Dr Deol, NICNAS discussed assessment protocols – global harmonisation is the message here provided regional relevance is addressed.

·         Dr Barbara Sanderson, Flinders University discussed cell line toxicity outcomes for flower extracts and head lice treatments – application of this information in RA is always controversial. Dr Peter Abbott, Biosearch Consulting (ex FSAANZ) provided a perspective on chemical safety across classes of compounds and Jack Dempsey, Dept of Health and Aging provided a review of asbestos issues.

Submitted by Len Turczynowicz


Scientific articles & News of interest


Weight of evidence evaluation of potential human cancer risks from PCBs

In 2003 Robert Golden concluded, based on a weight of evidence review of available epidemiology that PCBs did not pose a cancer risk to humans. The same author recently reviewed 15 papers published since 2003 and make some bold conclusions:


·       the WoE is compelling that environmental exposure to PCBs is not etiologically implicated in breast-cancer risk (based on consistent negative findings for increased breast-cancer mortality in occupational studies, which now involve almost 9,000 women occupationally exposed to PCBs).

·       A similar finding was made regarding the associating with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or prostate, testicular, and intestinal cancer

·       Dramatic differences between rodents and humans in sensitivity to PCB-mediated induction of CYP1A1 suggests that even occupational exposures to PCBs have never resulted in PCB body burdens approaching the levels required to initiate the sequence of events involved in the promotion of liver tumours in rodents.


Submitted by Peter Di Marco

US EPA get closer to publishing revised Dioxin Report

EPA has released a draft dioxin reanalysis report on May 21 2010. The report was released for external peer review and public comment and is an important draft document reviewing the literature on the health effects of dioxin and related compounds. http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=222203


Submitted by John Frangos



Recent Risk Communication research findings

Ellen F.J. ter Huurne* and Jan M. Gutteling of the Department of Psychology and Communication of Health and Risk, University of Twente in the Netherlands conducted a nation-wide survey (self reporting) in the Netherlands in the spring of 2007 investigating the main and combined effects of trust in the self and trust in responsible agencies to affective responses and information sufficiency on hazardous industrial chemicals. Survey respondents (n = 466) were placed into one of four categories based on their levels of self-efficacy (high/ low) and social trust (high/low), including confidence, independence, dependence and insecure groups. The authors state that the main findings were:


most people require practical knowledge, i.e. information about what one could do personally to reduce possible harm in the first place.


the audience is interested in what policies responsible agencies in risk management (i.e. government and industry) enact to reduce the risks and ensure a safe environment.


information about risks should be easily accessible to the general public.


Ellen F.J. ter Huurne* and Jan M. Gutteling (2010). How to trust? The importance of self-efficacy and social trust in public responses to industrial risks Journal of Risk Research Vol. 12, No. 6, September 2009, 809–824


Submitted by John Frangos


Contaminated Sites Handbook

The Adelaide-based CRC for Contamination Assessment & Remediation of the Environment (CRC-CARE) has recently published /Engaging the Community: a handbook fior professionals managing contaminated land/. The monograph was prepared by a group of experts on risk communication and community engagement, and is presented in the form of pragmatic guidance and examples of good risk communication practice. The Handbook was launched at two workshops (16 April in Melbourne, and 14 May in Sydney), at both of which, ACTRA had a role in making presentations and contributing to the discussion sessions. The Handbook may be purchased via the CRC-CARE website http://www.crccare.com/working_with_industry/contaminated_sites_handbook.html


Submitted by Brian Priestly




Webcast - NIH STEP Forum on Epigenetics



NIEHS Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis Chief Trevor Archer, Ph.D.(http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/lmc/cge/index.cfm ),


presented an introductory talk April 29 to enlighten an audience of both scientists and non-scientists about epigenetics and its role in disease. The talk was part of a Staff Training in Extramural Program (STEP) event at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., titled "Blast from the Past! Early Influences on Long-Term Health."


The forum focused on how epigenetic modification of gene expression, occurring during developmental periods in early life, can potentially affect long-term health and the issue of public health interventions.


Submitted by John Frangos


World Library of Toxicology

IUTOX, in partnership with the USA National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders (INND), is proud to announce the launch of the World Library of Toxicology, Chemical Safety, and Environmental Health, briefly referred to as the World Library of Toxicology (WLT) www.wltox.org.

This free global Web portal provides the scientific community and public with links to major government agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, professional societies, and other groups addressing issues related to toxicology, public health, and environmental health. The WLT works directly with a network of country correspondents consisting of respected toxicologists and other scientists who maintain their own country-specific pages with accurate and up-to-date information. Over 45 countries from all 7 continents are represented in the WLT, with the goal of ultimately including all interested nations.


Submitted by Peter Di Marco



Contributions by individual members and opinions expressed within these contributions are not intended to nor do they represent the views of the Australasian College of Toxicology and Risk Assessment.


Diary of events


ACTRA's Managing Environmental Health Risk and Liabilities Seminar Adelaide 15 September; http://www.actra.org.au/news.html


ICT-XII Barcelona 19-23 July; http://gestion.pacifico-meetings.com/www/iutox2010/


AIOH annual conference 4-8 December (http://www.aioh.org.au/).


To view the diary of events, please to the ACTRA website http://www.actra.org.au/news.html



ACTRA Secretariat

Elisabethe Dank


Ph/Fax (02) 9453 2210

PO Box 6008 Frenchs Forest DC  NSW  2068



Email secretariat@actra.org.au