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Using chemical categories to fill data gaps in hazard assessment

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Hazard assessments of chemicals have been limited by the availability of test data and the time needed to evaluate the test data. While available data may be inadequate for the majority of industrial chemicals, the body of existing knowledge for most hazards is large enough to permit reliable estimates to be made for untested chemicals without additional animal testing. We provide a summary of the growing use by regulatory agencies of the chemical categories approach, which groups chemicals based on their similar toxicological behaviour and fills in the data gaps in animal test data such as genotoxicity and aquatic toxicity. Although the categories approach may be distinguished from the use of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) for specific hazard endpoints, robust chemical categories are founded on quantifying the chemical structure with parameters that control chemical behaviour in conventional hazard assessment. The dissemination of the QSAR Application Toolbox by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an effort to facilitate the use of the categories approach and reduce the need for additional animal testing.
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Keywords: QSAR; chemical categories; data gaps; hazard assessment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: TNO Quality of Life, Utrechtseweg 48, The Netherlands 2: Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, Environment Health and Safety Division, 75775 Paris, Cedex 16, France 3: US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Risk Assessment Division, Washington, DC 20460, USA 4: International QSAR Foundation, MN 55616, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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