Robot system to test 10,000 chemicals for toxicity

March 21st, 2011 - 12:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 21 (IANS) A new high-speed robot screening system can test 10,000 different chemicals for potential toxicity.

These chemicals include compounds found in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs.

A thorough analysis of more than 200 public databases of chemicals and drugs used in the US and abroad was conducted to select the initial 10,000 chemicals for testing, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) statement.

Testing results will provide information useful for evaluating if these chemicals have the potential to disrupt human body processes enough to lead to adverse health effects.

The system marks the beginning of a new phase of an ongoing collaboration, referred to as Tox21, that is working to protect human health by improving how chemicals are tested in the US.

Tox21 has already screened more than 2,500 chemicals for potential toxicity, using robots and other innovative chemical screening technologies.

The robot system, which is at the NIH Chemical Genomics Centre (NCGC) in Rockville, was purchased as part of the Tox21 collaboration.

Tox21 was established in 2008 between the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program (NTP), the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the addition of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010.

“Tox21 has used robots to screen chemicals since 2008, but this new robotic system is dedicated to screening a much larger compound library,” said NHGRI Director Eric Green.

“Understanding the molecular basis of hazard is fundamental to the protection of human health and the environment,” said Paul Anastas, assistant administrator of the EPA Office of Research and Development.

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