The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched two databases that it says will improve decisions about chemical safety, including at the agency itself.

The two public sites, the Toxicity Forecaster database(ToxCastDB) and a database of chemical exposure studies(ExpoCastDB), will be connected through EPA’s Aggregated Computational Toxicology Resource (ACToR), an online data warehouse that collects data on over 500,000 chemicals from over 500 public sources.

The connection is important, the EPA says, because both exposure data and toxicity data are required when considering potential risks posed by chemicals, and the link will better inform the agency’s own decisions about chemical safety.

“Chemical safety is a major priority of EPA and its research,” said Dr. Paul Anastas, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These databases provide the public access to chemical information, data and results that we can use to make better-informed and timelier decisions about chemicals to better protect people’s health.”

Users of ToxCastDB can search and download data from over 500 rapid chemical tests conducted on more than 300 environmental chemicals. ToxCast predicts the potential toxicity of chemicals and, the EPA says, provides a cost-effective approach to prioritizing which chemicals of the thousands in use require further testing.

Staff working on the database are currently screening 700 additional chemicals, and the data for those substances will be available in 2012.

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