Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Toxicology research

Another major responsibility of ATSDR is producing toxicological profiles for the most common substances that are found at Superfund sites. The toxicological profiles summarize important studies on the substances’ health effects. ATSDR also publishes ToxFAQs, ToxGuides, and public health statements, which summarize the health information in toxicological profiles for use by the general public and health professionals. The agency maintains a Toxic Substances Portal that compiles all of the agency’s toxicology information and allows users to search by chemical. ATSDR has published toxicological profiles for more than 250 hazardous substances.

ATSDR has a computational toxicology laboratory that conducts research and modeling on the effects of toxic substances on human health. The agency's toxicology work involves pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling, quantitative structure–activity relationship methods, and benchmark dose modeling, as well as establishing minimal risk levels for human exposure to hazardous substances. One model developed by the toxicology laboratory showed that children were much more susceptible than adults to chemical exposure from inhalation and oral exposure. In the aftermath of chemical spills and emergencies, the laboratory also conducts research for state and local health departments on the health effects of the chemicals involved.