Updates on Freely Available Data Sources to Aid in the Creating Safer Consumer Products

By Margaret Whittaker posted 03-20-2017 10:28


The following blog pertains to the 2017 SOT Annual Meeting Scientific Session "Measurement and Prediction of Chemicals in Consumer Products."

Not to be thwarted by the week’s surprise snowstorm in Baltimore, toxicologists were back in force at SOT to attend a workshop session that presented new initiatives to assess chemical exposure from consumer products. If asked, most toxicologists would agree that it is challenging to assess chemical exposure from consumer products. The reality is that we have limited knowledge of the actual chemicals in any consumer product unless the chemicals are disclosed. As a result, we are left with imperfect exposure assessments based on incomplete chemical disclosures and partially mapped out use scenarios. 

Freely available data sources that identify and quantify functional uses of chemicals, along with consumer product categories for those chemicals, are few and far between. Workshop presenters provided updates on one such resource: the US Environmental Agency (US EPA) CompTox Dashboard, which is a growing source of publicly accessible exposure and use data.

John F. Wambaugh, PhD, US EPA, updated attendees on another US EPA project, the Exposure Forecasting (ExpoCast) Project. He shared an overview of a new journal article authored by the US EPA and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) scientists, which demonstrates how safer chemical alternatives can be selected by merging quantitative structure–use relationship (QSUR) models for functional use categories with results from high throughput bioactivity assays.

One of the workshop speakers said, “If you don’t try the technology, you don’t know what you can and can’t do.” I am encouraged by the research presented at the workshop and am ready to harness these data sources and models to contribute to the creation of safer consumer products.  

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