The Cutting Edge: Breakthroughs in Toxicology

Today we introduce a new series on the latest breakthroughs in our field. We begin with a new use of technology that could help scientists better understand the effects of chemicals on the human body.

Computational Toxicology

Toxicologists use auto-samplers to help screen chemicals more efficiently.

Toxicologists use auto-samplers to help screen chemicals more efficiently.

Protecting human health and our environment carries with it a challenge to address the safety of the tens of thousands of chemicals we use every day. The lengthy time and high costs of traditional laboratory tests have made it impossible for scientists to fully evaluate each of these chemicals. Computational toxicology is an emerging field that uses computer models of human biology to rapidly assess the harmful effects of chemicals. The goal is to quickly and efficiently screen thousands of chemicals to identify any that have the potential to disrupt natural processes in the human body. Laboratory testing will continue to be the preferred way of fully understanding a chemical’s harmful effects, however computational toxicology is already helping scientists prioritize those chemicals that are likely to be the most dangerous.

For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/ncct/