Toxic Chemicals Database Opens

Thursday, July 7, 2011 @ 01:07 PM gHale

Two databases are now available for scientists and the public to use to access chemical toxicity and exposure data.

The new databases, the Toxicity Forecaster Database (ToxCastDB) and a database of chemical exposure studies (ExpoCastDB), link together two important pieces of chemical research — exposure and toxicity data, that are connected through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Aggregated Computational Toxicology Resource (ACToR), an online data warehouse that collects data on over 500,000 chemicals from over 500 public sources. Both are required when considering potential risks posed by chemicals.

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ToxCast uses advanced scientific tools to predict the potential toxicity of chemicals and to provide a cost-effective approach to prioritizing which chemicals of the thousands in use require further testing. Users of the system can search and download data from over 500 rapid chemical tests conducted on more than 300 environmental chemicals. ToxCast is currently screening 700 additional chemicals, and the data will be available in 2012.

A key purpose of the ToxCast database is to link biological, metabolic and cellular pathway data to gene and in vitro assay data for the chemicals screened in the ToxCast HTS assays. Also included in ToxCastDB are human disease and species homology information, which correlate with ToxCast assays that affect specific genetic loci. This information makes it possible to infer the types of human disease associated with exposure to these chemicals.

ExpoCastDB consolidates human exposure data from studies that have collected chemical measurements from homes and child care centers. Data include the amounts of chemicals found in food, drinking water, air, dust, indoor surfaces and urine. ExpoCastDB users can obtain summary statistics of exposure data and download datasets. EPA will continue to add internal and external chemical exposure data and advanced user interface features to ExpoCastDB.

Both databases will continually update.

Additionally, the EPA has made public the identities of more than 150 chemicals contained in 104 health and safety incidents claimed confidential by industry.

Among the newly declassified toxic chemicals were some used in the Gulf oil spill cleanup and consumer products last year.

Information on those chemicals’ potential hazards are now public, and could be of interest to academics studying chemicals as well as downstream businesses.

When the EPA shifted its stance on confidential information, it also prodded companies to voluntarily choose to declassify information. The EPA said the latest batch of declassified information is a mix of chemicals revealed by the EPA and voluntarily by companies, and further declassification rounds should come as the EPA scours its backlog of confidentiality claims.

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