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New Tox21 Robot Will Test Chemical Toxicity

Several federal agencies have unveiled a new high-speed robot screening system that will test 10,000 different chemicals for potential toxicity.

The robot system, which is located at the National Institutes of Health Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), was purchased as part of the Tox21 collaboration established in 2008 between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Toxicology Program, and NCGC, with the addition of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010.

The 10,000 chemicals the robot system will screen include chemicals found in industrial and consumer products, food additives and drugs. Testing results will provide information useful for evaluating if these chemicals have the potential to disrupt human body processes enough to lead to adverse health effects.

“Tox21 has used robots to screen chemicals since 2008, but this new robot system is dedicated to screening a much larger compound library,” said NHGRI Director Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D.

Tox21 has already screened more than 2,500 chemicals for potential toxicity using robots and other chemical screening technologies.

In November, it was announced that the U.S. EPA ToxCast screening program had screened 1,000 chemicals for potential toxicity to people and the environment.

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