Saturday, February 12, 2011

Priority Chemicals Listed by the Minnesota Department of Health - Toxic Free Kids Act

Under the Toxic Free Kids Act, the state of Minnesota Department of Health, in consultation with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, has listed a total of nine chemicals as "priority chemicals."  The statute, which passed in 2009 "required MDH to develop two lists of chemicals: Chemicals of High Concern and Priority Chemicals." The Chemicals of High Concern list was published on July 1, 2010 and be found on the Chemicals of High Concern page. 

The Priority Chemicals list can be found here.  The nine chemicals listed (click on the name for links to PDFs of summary information for each chemical) are:

Bisphenol A


Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DecaBDE)




And three phthalates:

Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)

The Minnesota Department of Health has also provided a handy priority chemicals summary table here.

Additional information on the methodology employed to select priority chemicals, as well as a FAQ sheet, can be found on the MDH web site.

Friday, February 11, 2011

EPA Updates EPI Suite Chemical Estimation Software

The USEPA has long made available a computer program called "EPI Suite," which allows users to estimate  physical-chemical properties, environmental fate, and aquatic toxicology for a variety of chemicals. These estimations allow for rapid screening level assessment of potential harm and of fate and transport in the environment, thus aiding in both research and development decision-making and identifying areas for more focused evaluation.  Now EPA has provided an updated version called EPI Suite v.4.10.  The new version adds several new features and links to other useful database resources.

The updated version of EPI Suite can be downloaded here.

EPI Suite now includes a structure drawing module that "allows users to draw chemical structures and generate SMILES notations for direct entry into EPI programs."  SMILES stands for "Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry Specification" and allows even the most complex structures to be entered as simply ASCII strings for evaluation. 

Additionally, the new version has a new button that can link to several free sources of information.  Key databases linked include:

(1) ECOTOX - The ECOTOXicology database is a source for locating single-chemical toxicity data for aquatic life, terrestrial plants and wildlife. ECOTOX was created and is maintained by EPA's Office of Research and Development.

(2) Fate Resource Pointers - The Fate Resource Pointer File contains internet links to 16 sources of information on environmental fate of chemicals.  It can be searched by CAS numbers, names and by a substructure drawing applet.

 (3) SPARC - SPARC Performs Automated Reasoning in Chemistry can calculate a variety of physical and chemical properties.  EPI Suite does not currently include a pKa (dissociation constant) estimation program, but SPARC has an excellent pKa program.  SMILES notation  entered into the EPI Suite Interface is automatically entered into SPARC’s SMILES entry box.

Also, EPI Suite data files are now available in two substructure searchable formats: ISIS/Base and SD.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ECHA Updates its Online IT Tool to Allow Searching by Categories of Chemicals

For those deeply into REACH, the EU's chemical control law, the European Chemical Agency's (ECHA) web site is a treasure trove of helpful guidance and IT tools.  One of the tools available for free download is the "dissemination tool," which can be used to search for those chemical substances that have been registered and also "disseminated" online.  Up until now the tool only allowed for filtering single-substance registrations.  The new version of the tool "can now also filter registration dossiers based on a category approach."

The dissemination tool is pretty handy, at least for that small subset of chemical dossiers that have made it to the public phase.   Many more are still being processed from the thousands of dossiers submitted.  Eventually all of the public information will be online (the deadline for dissemination of all dossiers submitted by November 30, 2010 is March 1, 2011).  Many chemicals were submitted as single chemicals, i.e., one chemical, one dossier.  Other chemicals were submitted as part of what is called a "category approach."  In this approach the registrants can combine the data for several chemicals that a closely related, usually by structure but also by physical-chemical, environmental fate, and toxicological properties.  Having data on one chemical and a thorough understanding of the relationships between chemicals can offer the advantage of using a patchwork of data from a series of related chemicals and obviate the need to do costly testing on every single chemical.  It also results in a significant reduction in unnecessary animal testing.

The dissemination tool is a plug-in to IUCLID, the database system used by the EU and other areas to submit summaries of the chemical and toxicological studies available for registered chemicals.  It can be downloaded on the IUCLID5 website.

More information on the tool and links to the download sites can be found on the ECHA web site.