DATABASE: Structuring Chemical Safety

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Science  02 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5667, pp. 23
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5667.23b

To judge whether a new chemical might be poisonous or carcinogenic, toxicologists often need to consult tests on similar compounds. The problem is, toxicity data are scattered in multiple collections that often don't include chemical structures. DSSTox, a new site from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aims to help scientists and risk assessors analyze public toxicity data by putting the information in a standard format that includes structural data. So far, DSSTox curators have converted four EPA and outside databases; visitors can download and search the files using their own programs. The collections include measurements of hormonelike activity; minnow toxicity assays for more than 600 chemicals, including caffeine; and carcinogen tests on more than 1400 compounds. Researchers can also suggest databases for EPA to add to the site.

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