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Medical News & Perspectives
March 26, 2008

Health, Environmental Agencies Team Up to Develop New Plan for Toxicity Testing

JAMA. 2008;299(12):1415-1416. doi:10.1001/jama.299.12.1415

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are joining forces to try out a new toxicity testing paradigm. If validated, the new testing plan could dramatically increase the speed at which chemicals are tested and may reduce the number and use of animals in such tests.

The need for a new approach to toxicity testing was outlined in a 2007 National Research Council Report (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11970), which suggested more collaboration among scientific disciplines and a greater emphasis on in vitro tests and the assessment of the toxicity of a compound over a range of doses. Citing this need, officials from the EPA and several NIH agencies unveiled a 5-year plan to pool their expertise and resources to test and validate a method that would allow thousands of chemicals to be tested simultaneously, according to announcements made in February by the agencies at a press briefing and in a journal article (Collins FS et al. Science. 2008;319[5865]:906-907).