ToxCast-Robotic-Arm

EPA’s Tox21 high-throughput chemical screening robot (image attribution)

Last month, the EPA invited stakeholder comments on its proposed new guidance for testing pesticides for acute oral, dermal, and inhalation toxicity, as well as skin and eye irritation and skin sensitization.  The draft guidance outlines a procedure for expanding the use of alternative test methods in pesticide testing.  If implemented, the guidance stands to improve chemical screening efficiency and data relevance while greatly reducing the agency’s use of animals.  As the EPA press release acknowledges, “With the rapid advances in science and continual development of new technologies… there is an increasing potential for the use of alternative methods in regulatory risk assessments.”  The draft guidance is available here: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/science/draft-alternative-test-method-guidance.pdf  Comments are due to Christopher Schlosser (schlosser.christopher@epa.gov) by March 10.

As the press release also notes, the draft guidance represents continued progress in the agency’s efforts to adopt recommendations in the National Academy of Science’s report, Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century. For more about these achievements, see these two recent EPA blog posts:

Exposing the Missing Link: Advancing Exposure Science to Rapidly Evaluate Chemicals

EPA: Taking Action on Toxics and Chemical Safety