02 August 2007 19:21 [Source: ICIS news]
The agency said its ToxCast programme will first involve testing of more than 300 chemicals found in the environment - chiefly pesticides and other broadly used compounds - whose toxicity characteristics are well known.
This first phase of the regimen, said the agency, will use high throughput screening (HTS) to establish detailed biological profiles of the widely used chemicals.
Those HTS profiles will be used in the second phase of the programme to conduct high-speed reviews of up to 10,000 chemicals whose potential toxicity and biological impact on animal life is either unknown or less well known.
That second phase screening will identify compounds that may pose higher risks to human health or the environment.
“There are a lot of chemicals out there in commerce for which we don’t have rich data sets,” said Bob Kavlock, director of EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology.
“This programme will help us identify and prioritise chemicals for additional toxicological evaluations,” he said.
Kavlock said this new testing process will move toxicology analysis of chemicals in the environment into a broader range of substances beyond the high production volume (HPV) programme that the EPA is continuing with industry participation.
The nine-year-old HPV programme has been compiling toxicity data on the nearly 2,800 chemicals that are produced or imported in the
The ToxCast process will focus on chemicals that are manufactured in the medium volume range, he said, those produced in volumes of 11 tonnes or more annually. That range will encompass about 10,000 compounds, he said.
Ultimately, he said, the test results will be used to help guide EPA regulatory decisions.
The first phase testing, to establish the HTS baseline profiles on the 300 well-known substances, should be completed by the third quarter 2008, the agency said. The second phase is expected to take five years.
EPA funding for the phase one programme is $6m (€4.4m).
US chemical industry representatives were not immediately available for comment on the new EPA endeavour, but Kavlock said he expects the industry will be broadly supportive.
($1 = €0.73)
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