an announcement last week by the USEPA that ToxCast screening program has "entered a new phase," in which it will add another 700 chemicals for testing "potential toxicity to people and the environment." About 300 chemicals, mostly pesticides, were tested in the first phase, which puts chemicals through a series of fast, automated assays to screen for possible toxicity. The hope is that ToxCast will be able to rapidly screen the roughly 85,000 chemicals on the TSCA Inventory, as well as screen new chemicals before they are put on the market. Those chemicals for which ToxCast suggests some concern would be put into a more comprehensive evaluation process.
More information on ToxCast can be found here.
ToxCast employs a battery of rapid assays. Rather than rely on animal testing to discern toxicity, the battery includes tests that look at such things as gene expression, real-time electronic sensing, in vitro genomics, biochemical markers, and for those that want to see actual organisms, zebra fish development.
More information on the chemicals being tested can be found here and more information on EPA's computational toxicology program is here.