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Selected tag(s): ToxCast

Chemical safety evaluation: Limitations of emerging test methods

Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist. Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Parts in this series:      Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts on new approaches that federal agencies are exploring to improve how chemicals are evaluated for safety.  In this post, we’ll discuss a number of current limitations and challenges that must be overcome if the new approaches are to fulfill their promise of transforming the current chemical safety testing paradigm.  Read More »

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Chemical safety evaluation: Potential benefits of emerging test methods

Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

Parts in this series:      Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

This is the third in a series of blog posts on new approaches that federal agencies are exploring to improve how chemicals are evaluated for safety.  Previous posts primarily focused on the scientific principles underlying these efforts.  This post will take a pause from scientific fundamentals to discuss some of the opportunities presented by these more novel methods, while subsequent posts will address some of their limitations and remaining challenges.  (Not to worry, though, I’ll soon get back to computer-simulated organs as promised.)  Read More »

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Chemical safety evaluation: Packing tox tests into single drops of liquid!

Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

Parts in this series:      Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

In my last post I introduced EPA’s collaborative NexGen effort and briefly described the scientific advances underpinning the program.  In this post, I’ll explore some of the potential power of EPA’s efforts, which will require that we get a bit into the nitty gritty (nerd spoiler alert!).

NexGen is focusing on how new scientific knowledge and technological capabilities may interplay with traditional hazard and risk assessment that predominantly relies on more expensive and time-consuming animal studies.

There has been a lot of buzz around what is called high-throughput (HT) testing of chemicals.  Just last week, EPA issued a public statement describing the unveiling of a new robot housed at the National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC).  I highly recommend watching the robot in action by clicking on the “Toxicity Testing Robot System” video link available on the NIH National Human Genome Research Institute’s website.  The robot is scheduled to test 10,000 chemicals for potential toxicity!   So, what does that actually mean?  Read More »

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Chemical safety evaluation: EPA is doing the “Robot” 21st century style

Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

Parts in this series:      Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

Remember that then-new dance move from the 20th century?  Now don’t get too excited, EPA is not adding a dance category to its new sustainability research program.

No, the ‘Robot’ in my title refers to some of the impressive machines involved in EPA’s efforts to develop and apply new automated approaches to chemical toxicity testing.  These approaches integrate modern insights being gleaned from the biological sciences with advances in computation.  A new term has even been coined for all this:  Computational toxicology.

Though perhaps less of a draw than a dance-off featuring EPA staff, EPA’s exploration of new ways to better assess and address the safety of the tens of thousands of chemicals in use today is pretty exciting.    Read More »

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