Predicting health risks of everyday chemicals

Oct 16, 2013

Concern over the safety of everyday household products, such as baby bottles and soaps, has spurred a wide-ranging research effort into predicting the health risks of tens of thousands of chemicals. That's the topic of the cover story in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.

Britt E. Erickson, C&EN senior editor, points out that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with overseeing the of chemicals in consumer products. It's a monumental task—an estimated 80,000 chemicals are on the market in some form, whether in plastics, detergents, electronics or other items. But the agency is not alone in its efforts to understand chemicals' hazards and people's exposure to them. It relies on multiple sources to investigate risks. In addition to its own computer programs that model toxicity and levels of human exposure, the EPA is weaving together massive amounts of data on consumer buying trends, as well as data from various laboratory tests.

The article points out that while a concerted push is underway, much remains to be done. Getting a handle on the levels of chemicals people are actually exposed to is in its infancy. Holes remain in understanding the science of toxicity—for example, scientists haven't fully explored the molecular pathways involved in brain development and where chemicals might derail it.

Explore further: EPA suggests safer flame retardants

More information: "Getting Real about Chemical Risks", cen.acs.org/articles/91/i41/Ge… -Chemical-Risks.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EPA suggests safer flame retardants

Sep 26, 2013

(HealthDay)—Safer alternatives to a toxic flame retardant chemical are presented in a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

'Sweet' chemicals from a 'green' raw material

Sep 19, 2012

The biobased world's traditional focus on producing fuels for cars, trucks and aircraft is quietly undergoing a major transition this summer toward production of chemicals needed for manufacture of hundreds of different consumer ...

Computing toxic chemicals

Jul 18, 2013

A new computational method for working out in advance whether a chemical will be toxic will be reporting in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics.

A new sense of urgency for energy cane and other energy crops

Aug 14, 2013

"Energy cane" may sound like a trendy sports drink, but it actually is among a new generation of energy crops that could yield up to 5 times more ethanol per acre than corn. They are the topic of the cover story in this week's ...

Recommended for you

A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

21 hours ago

Membrane proteins and large protein complexes are notoriously difficult to study with X-ray crystallography, not least because they are often very difficult, if not impossible, to crystallize, but also because ...

Base-pairing protects DNA from UV damage

23 hours ago

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a further function of the base-pairing that holds the two strands of the DNA double helix together: it plays a crucial role in protecting ...

Smartgels are thicker than water

Sep 19, 2014

Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers ...

Separation of para and ortho water

Sep 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Not all water is equal—at least not at the molecular level. There are two versions of the water molecule, para and ortho water, in which the spin states of the hydrogen nuclei are different. ...

User comments : 0