Tox21 Partnership Begins Screening Compounds for Potential Toxicity
Collaboration between NIH, EPA and FDA to evaluate potential adverse effects of chemicals
A high-speed robotic screening system, aimed at protecting human health by improving how chemicals are tested in the United States, has begun testing 10,000 compounds for potential toxicity. The compounds cover a wide variety of classifications, and include consumer products, food additives, chemicals found in industrial processes, and human and veterinary drugs. A complete list of the compounds is publicly available at www.epa.gov/ncct/dsstox.
Testing this 10,000 compound library begins a new phase of an ongoing collaboration between the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, collectively referred to as Tox21. NIH partners include the National Toxicology Program (NTP), administered by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and the NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), part of the NIH Center for Translational Therapeutics (NCTT), housed at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
“There has never been a compound library like this before,” said NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum. “All of us are exposed to many different chemicals at the same time, not just one chemical at a time. These new technologies allow us to more rapidly advance our understanding of not only individual chemicals, but mixtures of chemicals as well.”
A subset of the NTP portion of the 10,000 compound library will focus on pilot testing several formulations or mixtures of compounds, a priority area for NIEHS/NTP. The library constituents were selected after an analysis of existing scientific studies, more than 200 public chemical databases, and chemical nominations received from internal and external partners. Each test compound will undergo a thorough chemical analysis to verify its identity and determine its purity, concentration and stability. The goal of the testing is to provide results that will be useful for evaluating if these chemicals have the potential to disrupt processes in the human body to an extent that leads to adverse health effects.
All testing results will be available to the public through NIH and EPA chemical toxicity databases. In addition, NCTT has created a Tox21 chemical inventory browser available at http://tripod.nih.gov/tox21chem.