U.S. EPA, L’Oréal Partner to Screen Chemicals

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency and cosmetic company L’Oréal are collaborating to explore whether the EPA’s chemical toxicity forecaster—ToxCast—can be used in systemic toxicity tests. EPA is using ToxCast to screen chemicals to understand their potential impact on processes in the human body that lead to adverse health effects.

The announcement, which was made Monday during the annual Society of Toxicology meeting in San Francisco, may help end animal testing.

L’Oréal is providing $1.2 million to the EPA in collaborative research funding plus robust safety data from a set of representative substances from the cosmetic sector—essentially expanding the types of chemical-use groups assessed by ToxCast. EPA will compare the ToxCast results to the L’Oréal data to determine if the reliability and the relevance are appropriate for use in the safety assessment of chemicals in cosmetics. 

“For more than 30 years, we have invested in predictive evaluation for safety, in other words, animal-free toxicology,” said Laurent Attal, executive vice president of L’Oréal Research & Innovation.
“Our new L’Oréal Predictive Evaluation Center‘s activity is based on new-generation tests, using reconstructed human tissues, automated platforms, molecular modeling. In this perspective, the ToxCast program from EPA could enrich our testing platforms and help us to predict earlier the safety of substances for our products.”

EPA researchers have published scientific papers showing how ToxCast can be used to predict a chemical’s potential for liver toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity and cancer. ToxCast is screening more than 1,000 chemicals in more than 700 fast, automated tests called high-throughput screening. It is supplemented by the toxicity testing in the 21st century federal agency research collaboration that uses robotics to test the chemicals. 

“Using state-of-the art methods, we hope to show that products can be proven safe for the consumer without the use of animals,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

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