2012 EPA Research Progress Report
Chemical Evaluation Dashboards for Decision Makers
For those protecting human health and the environment by making decisions regarding chemical risks and health effects, the extensive databases and proliferation of additional scientific information being generated by EPA’s CompTox and other research efforts can be daunting.
To overcome this obstacle, EPA computational toxicology researchers are developing customizable and user-friendly Web-based applications—called “Dashboards”—that provide accessible, useful summary information on chemical exposure and hazard data, decision-tools, and predictive models. The Dashboards compile information useful for predicting risk and prioritizing chemicals for further testing.
Prototype Dashboards were developed in 2012 for EPA’s Endocrine Disruption Screening program, to support chemical prioritization for the Toxic Substances Control Act, and for chemicals of concern for the Safe Water Drinking Act’s Candidate Contaminant List.
Increasing Transparency and Accessibility of Chemical Safety Information
EPA’s computational toxicology research is building accessible, online databases on thousands of chemicals that can be shared with the public and those making policy and regulatory decisions about the safety of chemicals.
As these extensive, Web-accessible databases are being developed, EPA is collaborating with academia and industry partners to gather the “critical mass” of chemical hazard and exposure data needed to advance innovation, and to launch the next generation of sustainable chemical design. By using these data to identify the features of chemicals that contribute to their hazardous properties, chemical engineers and others will have the information they need to avoid such features to design new functional, yet safer, chemicals.
The public release of computational toxicology data provides opportunities to engage stakeholders and to promote transparency on how these data are used to inform EPA decisions. It is also expected that by actively engaging stakeholders and making research results widely accessible, EPA will promote the commercialization and use of these data and research, facilitating chemical safety assessments and the design of benign or less hazardous materials by industry and others.
An additional result of this investment in innovative science will be a reduction in the number of animals needed for evaluating chemical hazard and risk.