Update to CompTox Chemicals Dashboard Continues Expansion of Functionality
Published May 7, 2019; Updated January 6, 2020
To ensure informed chemical safety decisions can be made about thousands of chemicals, scientists and decision makers need a constantly evolving set of tools for quickly and efficiently evaluating chemicals of interest. The online Computational Toxicology (CompTox) Chemicals Dashboard helps to advance these efforts. The dashboard continues to be updated with new data and functionality, with the newest release being rolled out publicly in March 2020.
The Dashboard is a one-stop-shop for chemistry, toxicity, exposure, and bioactivity data that allows for searches based on chemical identifiers (e.g. names and CAS Registry numbers); product categories that chemicals are found in; pesticide codes; and assay and gene associations with the bioactivity data from the ToxCast and Tox21 projects. The team of curators working on the chemicals data has continued to expand in order to validate the list of chemical identifiers associated with the more than 875,000 chemicals. In addition, the various lists of chemicals that are available as segregated sets includes chemicals in tire crumb rubber, natural product insecticides, refrigerants and a growing list of disinfectant by-products.
Dr. Antony Williams, an EPA chemist and project lead for the dashboard, says that with each release data quality is elevated by a repeated, rigorous curation process. He added that the new version also incorporates bioactivity data from the latest invitrodb release collected as part of EPA’s Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) high-throughput screening program. The batch search mode, which allows users to search for thousands of chemicals at one time, was also enhanced to support new input types for searching and new outputs including presence of chemicals in any of the >220 lists.
Before the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard was developed three years ago, EPA had a suite of web applications (also referred to as dashboards) including the ToxCast or Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program dashboards. Dr. Williams says that since the latest dashboard release incorporates all data and functionality from earlier dashboards, they have now been retired in favor of one single application to provide a seamless navigation experience for the user. Consolidating all the data into one dashboard also helps make sure that EPA’s scientists and programmers are able to focus on adding new data, functionality and improved performance that is valuable to EPA and its stakeholders.
Dr. Williams says the upcoming dashboard release is now in testing and that EPA scientists are also hard at work with a reengineering effort that will allow for prototype developments such as structure/substructure search and mass spectrum searches to be made available to the community for beta-testing.
“This allows us to get feedback and ensure that we deliver a more optimal solution when integrated,” Dr. Williams says. “We remain focused on delivering EPA data to the community and bringing that data into a coherent application. The possibility to field-test new standalone prototype modules prior to integration into the Dashboard offers exciting possibilities.”