With around 80,000 untested chemicals in use, Rutgers-led innovation addresses an urgent environmental safety need
The use of animals to test the toxicity of chemicals may one day become outdated thanks to a low-cost, high-speed algorithm developed by researchers at Rutgers and other universities.
Toxicity testing – determining the amount of exposure to a chemical that is unsafe for humans – is vital to the safety of millions of workers in various industries. But of the 85,000 compounds used in consumer products, the majority have not been comprehensively tested for safety. Animal testing, in addition to its ethical concerns, can be too costly and time consuming to meet this need, according to the study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
“There is an urgent, worldwide need for an accurate, cost-effective and rapid way to test the toxicity of chemicals, in order to ensure the safety of the people who work with them and of the environments in which they are used,” said lead researcher Daniel Russo, a doctoral candidate at the Rutgers University-Camden Center for Computational and Integrative Biology. “Animal testing alone cannot meet this need.”
Previous efforts to solve this problem used computers to compare untested chemicals with structurally similar compounds whose toxicity is already known. But those methods were unable to assess structurally unique chemicals – and were confounded by the fact that some structurally similar chemicals have very different levels of toxicity.
The Rutgers-led group overcame these challenges by developing a first-of-its-kind algorithm that automatically extracts data from PubChem, a National Institutes of Health database of information on millions of chemicals. The algorithm compares chemical fragments from tested compounds with those of untested compounds, and uses multiple mathematical methods to evaluate their similarities and differences in order to predict an untested chemical’s toxicity.
“The algorithm developed by Daniel and the Zhu laboratory mines massive amounts of data, and discerns relationships between fragments of compounds from different chemical classes, exponentially faster than a human could,” said co-author Lauren Aleksunes, an associate professor at Rutgers’ Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and the Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. “This model is efficient and provides companies and regulators with a tool to prioritize chemicals that may need more comprehensive testing in animals before use in commerce.”
To fine-tune the algorithm, the researchers began with 7,385 compounds for which toxicity data is known, and compared it with data on the same chemicals in PubChem. They then tested the algorithm with 600 new compounds. For several groups of chemicals, the Rutgers-led algorithm had a 62 percent to 100 percent success rate in predicting their level of oral toxicity. And by comparing relationships between sets of chemicals, they shed light on new factors that can determine the toxicity of a chemical.
Although the algorithm was directed only to assess the chemicals’ level of toxicity when consumed orally, the Rutgers-led researchers conclude that their strategy can be extended to predict other types of toxicity.
“While the complete replacement of animal testing is still not feasible, this model takes an important step toward meeting the needs of industry, in which new chemicals are constantly under development, and for environmental and ecological safety,” said the corresponding author Hao Zhu, an associate professor of chemistry at Rutgers-Camden and the Rutgers and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.
The Latest on: Chemical toxicity testing
via Google News
The Latest on: Chemical toxicity testing
- 95 Percent of Baby Foods Tested in US Contain Toxic Metals, Claims New Reporton October 17, 2019 at 7:07 pm
Of the popular store brands tested, one in four contained toxic chemicals, the study found. In addition to arsenic and lead ... the study said. That data was based on testing by Consumer Reports, the ...
- 95% of Tested Baby Foods in the U.S. Had Toxic Metals, Study Findson October 17, 2019 at 5:15 pm
The vast majority of baby foods tested in a national investigation contain toxic chemicals that can lower babies’ IQ ... “(Nineteen) of every 20 baby foods tested had detectable levels of one or more ...
- Study finds toxic metals in baby foods: What you should knowon October 17, 2019 at 4:50 pm
This is an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors that's trying to reduce exposure to neurotoxic chemicals during the first months of life. Tests of 168 baby foods from major ...
- PFAS chemicals from B-17 crash reached Farmington Riveron October 17, 2019 at 2:19 pm
An unknown amount of toxic PFAS firefighting chemicals used to put out the fire from the deadly Oct. 2 crash of a World War II bomber at Bradley International Airport reached the Farmington River, ...
- Toxic metals found in nearly all tested baby foods, study findson October 17, 2019 at 1:29 pm
... are trying to "reduce babies' exposures to toxic chemicals in the first 1,000 days of development" executed the study. The organization tested containers from 168 types of baby food from 61 brands ...
- 95% of tested baby foods in the US contain toxic metals, report sayson October 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm
The tests were commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, which calls itself an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during ...
- Arsenic, mercury and other toxic metals found in most baby foods tested, report sayson October 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm
Only nine of the tested foods were free of toxic chemicals, according to the report. The lab-testing was done on brands including Gerber, Enfamil, Mott’s and Juicy Juice, and on products ranging from ...
- Koch alumnus at EPA worked on toxic chemical despite recusal planon October 17, 2019 at 7:05 am
The Trump administration official leading the Environmental Protection Agency’s research office took part in conversations about a health assessment of formaldehyde even while planning to recuse ...
- Toxic chemical spill affects Pittsboro's drinking wateron October 16, 2019 at 4:17 pm
But a spokeswoman for DEQ said systems will soon be required to test for it and several other emerging contaminants ... "We know that they’re toxic, but they’re technically unregulated because they ...
- In Vitro Toxicity Testing Market: Opportunities and Forecast Assessment, 2019-2024on October 16, 2019 at 7:31 am
The report also bifurcates global in vitro toxicity testing market based on end-use as Pharmaceutical & Biopharmaceutical, Cosmetics & Household Products, Food, and Chemical. Global in vitro ...
via Bing News