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NIH collaborates with EPA to improve the safety testing of chemicals
Date:2/14/2008

Testing the safety of chemicals ranging from pesticides to household cleaners will benefit from new technologies and a plan for collaboration, according to federal scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who today announced a new toxicity testing agreement. The concept behind this agreement is highlighted in the Feb. 15, 2008 issue of the journal Science.

Two NIH institutes have formed a collaboration with the EPA to use the NIH Chemical Genomics Centers (NCGC) high-speed, automated screening robots to test suspected toxic compounds using cells and isolated molecular targets instead of laboratory animals. This new, trans-agency collaboration is anticipated to generate data more relevant to humans; expand the number of chemicals that are tested; and reduce the time, money and number of animals involved in testing. Full implementation of the hoped-for paradigm shift in toxicity testing will require validation of the new approaches, a substantial effort that could consume many years.

This collaboration is being made possible through a newly signed, five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which leverages the strengths of each organization. The MOU builds on the experimental toxicology expertise at the National Toxicology Program (NTP), headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences (NIEHS), NIH; the high-throughput technology at NCGC, managed by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), NIH; and the computational toxicology capabilities at the EPAs recently formed National Center for Computational Toxicology (NCCT).

The MOU provides for sample and information sharing necessary to more rapidly and effectively identify chemicals that might pose possible risks to the health of humans and animals and to the environment. It addresses opportunities for coordination in four basic areas related to achieving the toxicant testing g
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Contact: Raymond MacDougall
macdougallr@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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