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Chemical Safety Research Updates

August 2013 Update

EPA Improves Ecological Risk Assessment with Tools and Updates
EPA and Collaborators Develop Adverse Outcome Pathway Wiki
EPA Announces Review of Draft Non Monotonic Dose Response Curve Report
Chemical Safety Research Featured on Two Journal Covers
White House Invites EPA Scientists to Present Open Science
EPA Research Funding for Chemical Exposure Screening Tools
EPA Funding for Studying Susceptibility & Variability in Human Response to Chemical Exposure
EPA Research Funding for New Methods in 21st Century Exposure Science
EPA Accepting Applications for ORISE Postdoctoral Positions
Mark Your Calendars for Future of Toxicity Meeting January 16-17, 2014
Computational Toxicology Communities of Practices Discuss Research Advances
EPA Researchers Present at International SEURAT Meeting
EPA Researchers Present at Teratology Society 53rd Annual Meeting

EPA Improves Ecological Risk Assessment with Tools and Updates

contaminated surface water and sediment

Contaminated surface water and sediment

EPA has improved ecological risk assessment capabilities with the development of the Markov chain nest productivity model (MCnest) and an update to the Web-ICE tool.

MCnest integrates bird toxicity data with information on species life history and the timing of pesticide applications to estimate the relative impact of a pesticide-use scenario on the annual reproductive success of bird species of interest. The model can be run on any computer. A User’s Manual and Technical Manual provide users with the background needed to run the model. A paper accepted in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (PDF) (31 pp, 1MB) Exit EPA Disclaimer demonstrates possible applications of MCnest for assessing risks to avian reproduction

Web-based Interspecies Correlation Estimation (Web-ICE), first launched in 2007, is an internet application that models acute toxicity of untested aquatic species and terrestrial wildlife using measured data from a surrogate species. Web-ICE was recently updated to include the following:

  • Exportable excel files for species sensitivity distribution and endangered species modules
  • Filter functions for species sensitivity distribution (SSD) & Endangered species modules
  • SSD module provides all values for each predicted species (from multiple surrogate) with radio buttons that allow the user to change the selection
  • Algal models as individual prediction modules
  • Incorporation of models into the aquatic SSDs
  • Updated user guidance (Raimondo et al. 2013).

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EPA and Collaborators Develop Adverse Outcome Pathway Wiki

adverse outcome pathways

Graphic depiction of AOP

EPA’s Office of Research and Development, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center have collaborated to develop the wiki-based tool "AOPWiki," which provides a user-friendly and open-source interface for sharing established adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) and building new AOPs. An AOP portrays existing knowledge about the linkages between chemicals, processes of the human body and an adverse outcome at a level relevant to risk assessment. The OECD’s Adverse Outcome Pathway working group is requesting proposals from those interested in contributing to the AOPWiki to provide expert input on existing AOPs and the development of new ones. Submit a proposal to contribute to the Wiki. Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 289K)

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EPA Announces Review of Draft Non Monotonic Dose Response Curve Report

Non-Monotonic Dose Response Curve

Various dose response curves

EPA contracted with the National Academies of Science's (NAS) Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology to coordinate the review of the draft Non-Monotonic Dose Response Curve state of the science report. The NAS expert peer review includes the consideration of public comments. NAS will make recommendations to EPA about incorporating the appropriate comments. Expert peer review and public comment will help EPA improve the state of the science report in an open, public participatory and transparent process and will ensure policy decisions are based on sound science. More information about the NMDRC report.

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Chemical Safety Research Featured on Two Journal Covers

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering – Special Issue: Sustainable Nanotechnology cover

Cover of ACS Sustainable
Chemistry & Engineering -
Nanotechnology special issue

The work of EPA’s nanomaterials research was featured on the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering – Special Issue: Sustainable Nanotechnology cover. Exit EPA Disclaimer The cover highlights researchers’ work with modified nanoparticles. EPA researchers are using “green” nanosilver to advance sustainability. Full article Exit EPA Disclaimer

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high-throughput screening

Graphic used on cover of
Chemicals Research in
Toxicology

EPA’s computational toxicology research efforts were featured on the cover of Chemicals Research in Toxicology’s April issue. The article describes how EPA researchers are using high-throughput screening (HTS) to analyze hundreds of chemicals regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Full article. Exit EPA Disclaimer


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Awards, Funding & Employment

White House's Champions of Change award ceremony

EPA scientists presenting
at The White House

White House Invites EPA Scientists to Present Open Science
On June 20, 2013 the White House invited four EPA scientists—Drs. Richard Judson, Keith Houck, Matt Martin, and Ann Richard—to present research posters describing their efforts to provide public access to massive amounts of data from chemical safety studies. Three of these scientists, Dr Judson, Dr Richard and Dr. Martin, presented their posters highlighting their research after the White House’s Champions of Change award ceremony.

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EPA Research Funding for Chemical Exposure Screening Tools
EPA is requesting research proposals for Exposure Screening Tools for Accelerated Chemical Prioritization. The goal of this research is to develop models and gather data to help predict exposure to thousands of chemicals currently in commerce. This request was released on June 25 and is open until August 13th. Interested applicants should view solicitation details here or contact David Murphy for more information.

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EPA Funding for Studying Susceptibility & Variability in Human Response to Chemical Exposure
EPA is currently accepting applications for Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants that will study the range of human effects in response to chemical exposure, with an emphasis on studying susceptible populations such as pregnant women, children and aging adults. This solicitation was released June 10 and will remain open until September 10. Interested applicants should view solicitation details here and send their materials to Todd Peterson.

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EPA Research Funding for New Methods in 21st Century Exposure Science
EPA is currently accepting applications for Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants that will conduct innovative research to advance methods for characterizing real-world human exposure to chemicals associated with consumer products in indoor environments. This solicitation was released June 19 and will remain open until September 17. Interested applicants should view solicitation details.

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EPA Accepting Applications for ORISE Postdoctoral Positions
EPA’s Chemical Safety for Sustainability research program is currently accepting applications for postdoctoral positions as part of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Internship/Research Positions Program. For more information on the available postdoctoral positions, please click the links to project descriptions and applications below:

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Conferences, Meetings, Events & Webinars

Mark Your Calendars for Future of Toxicity Meeting January 16-17, 2014
On January 16-17, 2014, the Society of Toxicology’s Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology will hold a conference on the future of toxicity research in Chapel Hill, NC. The conference, “FutureTox II”, will focus on the central question: In what ways can in vitro/in silico methodologies be seen as superior to in vivo methods such that the latter would not be needed to confirm findings? Remember to visit the conference web page in mid-August to find information about submitting abstracts for the conference.

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Computational Toxicology Communities of Practices Discuss Research Advances
June’s Communities of Practice speaker was scientist John Wambaugh who presented “High Throughput Heuristics Can Forecast Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.” The presentation described research on rapid, automated models for predicting exposure to chemicals.

July’s Communities of Practice speaker was Dr. George Daston from Proctor & Gamble. Dr. Datson’s presentation “Cheminformatics and Toxicogenomics for Toxicology Prediction and Mechanistic Insight” described an expert rule-based approach for identifying and evaluating analogs as a means of predicting the toxicity of a new chemical, using a database containing all available animal and human toxicity data.  

Mark your calendars for the August 22 Communities of Practice which will feature a presentation by EPA scientist Dr. Carlie A. LaLone. Dr. LaLone will make a presentation about molecular target homology-based approaches to predict species sensitivities to pesticides. More information about the Communities of Practice is available here.

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EPA Researchers Present at International SEURAT Meeting
EPA researchers in the Toxicity Testing in the 21st century (Tox21) federal collaboration presented their research during a three-day workshop (June 25-27, 2013). The event was hosted by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, and facilitated a detailed exchange of ideas and results among principal scientists from the USA Tox21 program and the European Union SEURAT-1 Research Initiative.

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EPA Researchers Present at Teratology Society 53rd Annual Meeting
EPA researchers presented at the Teratology Society’s 53rd Annual Meeting, which took place June 22-26, 2013. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Application of Cutting-Edge Technologies to Improve Assessment, Treatment, Prevention, and Communication regarding Birth Defects.”

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