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Computing toxic chemicals
Date:7/18/2013

A new computational method for working out in advance whether a chemical will be toxic will be reporting in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics.

There is increasing pressure on the chemical and related industries to ensure that their products comply with increasing numbers of safety regulations. Providing regulators, intermediary users and consumers with all the necessary information to allow them to make informed choices with respect to use, disposal, recycling, environmental issues and human health issues is critical. Now, Meenakshi Mishra, Hongliang Fei and Jun Huan of the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, have developed a computational technique that could allow the industry to predict whether a given compound will be toxic even at a low dose and thus allow alternatives to be found when necessary.

Toxicity is almost always an issue of availability and dosage. Whether or not a compound is natural or synthetic it can be toxic from snake venom and jellyfish stings to petrochemicals and pesticides. However, some chemicals are more toxic than others, exposure to a lower dose will cause health problems or potentially be lethal. It is very important to find a way to determine whether a newly discovered synthetic or natural chemical might cause toxicity problems.

The team also points out that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Toxic Substances (OTS) in the USA had listed 70,000 industrial chemicals in the 1990s, with 1000 chemicals added each year for which even simple toxicological experiments had not been carried out. This is largely a problem of logistics and costs as well as the ethical question of whether so many tests, which would have to be carried out on laboratory animals, should be done at all.

Now, Huan and colleagues in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Kansas, have successfully tested a statistical algori
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Contact: Albert Ang
press@inderscience.com
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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