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National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

UPDATE NewsletterUPDATE NewsletterNovember 2020

The NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM)

By Catherine Sprankle

ICE version 3.2 now available

On October 20, NICEATM released an update of the Integrated Chemical Environment (ICE). ICE provides data and tools to help develop, assess, and interpret chemical safety tests. This update adds the following features to these ICE tools:

  • In Vitro to In Vivo Extrapolation (IVIVE): A new inhalation model from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) httk package is available that allows estimation of an equivalent administered dose based on a gas exposure. The IVIVE tool also enables the user to specify whether experimental or predicted data are used for absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) parameters.
  • Chemical characterization: Results are now displayed using two principal component analysis plots: (1) a static plot that compares queried chemicals to a background of a larger chemical set and (2) a dynamic plot that compares queried chemicals to one another based on physicochemical properties or molecular descriptors.

Other new resources in ICE 3.2 include:

EPA announces guidance to waive toxicity tests; new webpages on metrics and NAMs

On October 7, EPA requested public comment on draft guidance that would allow researchers to forego testing chemicals on animal skin in certain circumstances. A retrospective analysis conducted by EPA concluded that such studies provide little to no added value in regulatory decision-making. Thus, the proposed guidance will allow waivers for studies on single active ingredients used in pesticides. This guidance, when finalized, is expected to save up to 750 test animals annually from unnecessary testing, as well as EPA, industry, and laboratory resources.

A webpage summarizing EPA’s strategic vision for adopting new approach methodologies (NAMs) is available on the EPA website. Links to three additional webpages provide details of EPA activities, including:

  • EPA activities and policies have reduced the number of animals used in testing and saved resources for the Agency and stakeholders. A new page on the EPA website provides measures of cost and animal savings following these activities.
  • EPA has identified a number of contexts in which waivers of required studies can be considered, reducing the number of animals required for testing. These situations are in addition to the dermal study waivers noted above.
  • EPA has taken steps to advance the use of computational and non-animal approaches for providing information for chemical hazard and risk assessment. Many of these, such as the Collaborative Acute Toxicity Modeling Suite (CATMoS) and skin sensitization approaches, were developed or evaluated in collaboration with NICEATM.

OSHA, PHMSA request public input in advance of international meetings

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will hold virtual public meetings on Thursday, November 19, 2020. The purpose of these meetings is to receive public comments and gather information regarding U.S. government positions in preparation for two international meetings, which will be held as a hybrid in-person and virtual events:

  • The 57th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCETDG) on November 30-December 8.
  • The 39th session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS) on December 9-11.

Both the PHMSA and OSHA public meetings are open to the public on a first-come, first served basis. Attendees must pre-register for all meetings.

The PHMSA public meeting is November 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST. Registration information and other details are available on the PHMSA website

The OSHA public meeting is November 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. Information about the OSHA meeting will be posted, when available, on the OSHA website.

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The Update Newsletter is produced by NTP Office of Liaison, Policy, and Review. The text is not copyrighted and can be reprinted without permission. If you use parts of the Update Newsletter in your publication, we ask that you provide us with a copy for our records. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Director of Office of Liaison, Policy, and Review and Editor-in-Chief: Mary Wolfe | Managing Editor: Anna Lee Mosley