A generic standard was defined as one which regulates similar situations or several chemical compounds through a single rule making procedure. Two types of generic standards were reviewed: a generic communications standard and a generic chemical class standard. The generic communications standard served as a guide for information sharing and had as its advantages flexibility, opportunity for professional judgment, a basis for consistency in evaluation, and provisions for timely updating. Disadvantages included the potential for public confusion and difficulty in enforcement. A generic chemical class standard groups chemicals with similar structures, toxic endpoints or physical properties which can be regulated through a single rule. In practice it has been difficult to get agreement on which chemicals are to be regulated or how. As a comment against the generic standard for chemical compounds, it was noted that toxic properties of a molecule can change greatly with relatively small changes in structure. The authors also discussed mathematical models to assess quantitative cancer risk.