The EPA is making it easier to find chemical information online through the release of the ToxRefDB database, which will allow product developers, researchers, and scientists to search and download thousands of toxicity testing results on hundreds of chemicals.

ToxRefDB provides detailed chemical toxicity data in an accessible format, making available 30 years and $2 billion of testing results, according to Robert Kavlock, director of the agency’s National Center for Computational Toxicology.

“Tens of thousands of chemicals are in commerce and current chemical testing is expensive and time consuming and results from chemical testing are scattered throughout different sources,” says Kavlock. “ToxRefDB allows the public to search, find, and compare available studies about chemical toxicity and potential health effects.”      

Researchers can query a specific chemical and find public hazard, exposure, and risk-assessment data, as well as previously unpublished studies related to cancer, reproductive, and developmental toxicity.

By providing information about research into alternative chemicals and materials, the database will make it easier for building product manufacturers to develop non-toxic products and materials, says Tom Lent, policy director for the Healthy Building Network (HBN).

In addition, says Lent, the up-to-date scientific information about chemicals and materials will help the HBN to compile hazardous chemical lists for its Pharos Project, which provides information on sustainable building materials.

The announcement is one in a series of steps that the EPA has taken recently to provide more information to the public and the scientific community about the toxic impact of chemicals, Lent adds. “The new administration has been providing new ways to get out what information they have about toxic chemicals and eliminate a lot of the options that industry has had to hide information about toxicity behind confidential business screens.”

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor, Online for EcoHome.